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THE LIBRARY 

OF 
THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 




V 



\ 






v Til rr.tr - I . . 
irt. Louden. .\ . 




JAMES CALVERT 
OF FIJI. 



BY 

G. STRINGER ROWE. 



LONDON : 

CHARLES H. KELLY, 2, CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD, B.C. 

AND 66, PATERNOSTEB Bow, B.C. 

1893. 



PiinteU by Ilazell, Watson, & Yiney, Ld., London and Aylesbnry. 



OUR DEAR 

ANNIE CALVERT (LAKAI) 

THIS 

IMPERFECT RECORD OP THE LIFE 

OF 
HER BELOVED FATHER 

IS INSCRIBED. 



1732520 



FIJI AND THE FIJIANS. By THOMAS 
WILLIAMS. THE MISSION HISTOBY. By 
JAMES CALVERT. Edited by G. STRINGEB 
ROWE. Third Edition. Crown 8vo, 5*. 

LIFE OP JOHN HUNT, Missionary to 
the Cannibals of Fiji. By G. STRINGER 
ROWE. Fifth Edition. Crown 8vo, Is. Qd 

LIFE OF MARY CALVERT. By 

G. STRINGER ROWE. Crown 8vo, 1*. 

THE KING AND THE PEOPLE OF 
FIJI. Containing a Life of Thakombau, 
etc. By the Rev. JOSEPH WATERHOUSE. 
Crown 8vo. [Out of Print. 

JOEL BULU : The Autobiography of a 
Native Minister in the South Seas. Trans- 
lated by a Missionary. Ninth Thousand. 
Foolscap 8vo, 1*. 



LONDON: CHARLES IT. KELLY. 



PEEFACE. 



~\T7"HEN the writing of this Memoir was under- 
taken it was expected that there would be 
material for a much larger book. Having regard 
to the extended usefulness of the Biography, it is 
hardly to be regretted that this expectation has 
not been fulfilled. There is need, however, of 
a word of explanation to show why the record 
of so full and eventful a life has not been made 
more ample. 

It was hoped that an examination of my dear 
old friend's journals and other private papers 
would yield many particulars besides those which 
he himself had made public at many times and 
in many places. It was not so. With his know- 
ledge and experiences, what a wonderful store of 
observation and narrative he might have fur- 
nished ! But he was so absolutely given up to 
his one great work, that he seldom took account 



PREFACE. 



of those things which lay outside of it. Moreover, 
in his noble character there was very little 
imagination. He was most admirably and most 
provokingly matter-of-fact ; so that, in the years 
of his greatest activity, he scarcely stayed to note 
the picturesque features of scenes which must 
have been strangely rich in the picturesque. His 
journals of the eight years spent in South Africa 
mention, for months together, only dates, places, 
and engagements fulfilled. 

The chief events of his Missionary History had 
been already told in the published story of the 
regeneration of Fiji, wherein, indeed, the chronicle 
of his life is largely given. It has caused me some 
little embarrassment that the account of the Fiji 
Mission was, thirty-five years ago, either written or 
put into form by my own hand. Thus, in re-telling 
portions of it here, I have been sometimes obliged 
to quote or to paraphrase my own words. 

It is greatly to be desired that this Biography 
may set many upon reading the History of the Fiji 
Mission. It is easy of access; and the evidential 
value of it on behalf of the Gospel cannot be over- 
rated. It covers so large a ground as to be of 
commanding importance: and it is so compact as 



PREFACE. 



to present an argument and a witness which can 
be seen, in their convincing evidence, at a glance. 

All that I myself owe to the friendship of this 
my friend, especially in my earlier life, cannot be 
disclosed here. Nearly forty years of very close 
and loving intimacy gave me to know him well ; 
and that knowledge makes me greatly mistrust my 
own power to do justice to my subject. Wherever, 
in the following pages, it was possible, he has been 
allowed to tell his own story. 

If this presentment of him and his life's achieve- 
ment should stir any to gain for themselves that 
Divine Grace which made him the Christian hero 
he was, and to give themselves to the high service 
in which he fulfilled his course, such result would 
recompense me most, as it is surely that which 
would have pleased him best. 

HEADIXGLEY COLLEGE, 
February 1893. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 
EARLY DAYS AND PREPARATION. 

The Starting-point. Birth. Childhood. Schooling. 
Apprenticeship. First Signs of Spiritual Life. Illness 
and Decision. Conversion. Beginnings of Christian 
Service. Beverley. Sickness. Colchester. Fuller 
Blessing. Call to the Ministry. His Offer accepted. 
Preparations. Appointed to Fiji. Marriage. Voyage. 
Sydney. An Earnest of Success . . . pp. 3 20 



CHAPTER II. 
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 

How the Mission in Fiji was begun. Cross and Cargill. 
Voyage from Sjdney. Visit to the Friendly Islands. 
Arrival in Fiji. Settled at Lakemba. Trading with the 
Natives. Language. Pilfering. Native Justice. First 
Preaching and Printing. Wreck and Peril of Native 
Christians. Voyaging in Fiji. Mbau. Tanoa. Viwa 
and Namosimalua. Rewa. Narrow Escape at Moturiki. 
The Firstborn. Namuka. Arrival of the Rev. R. B. 
Lyth. Left Alone at Lakemba. Lomaloma. Encour- 
agements, Self-sown Seed of the Kingdom . pp. 23 51 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER III. 
LAKEMBA AND 0X0. 

Planting of the Gospel in Ono. Wai. A Strange Act of 
Worship. Josiah. Isaac Ravuata. Progress. An 
Appeal. Voyage to Ono. Vatoa. Work at Ono. Safe 
Return. Correspondence with Hunt on Sanctification. 
The Story of Tovo. Sickness and Depression. Visit of 
Rev. John Waterhouse, and Arrival of Rev. Thomas 
Williams. Ono Revisited. Faith in the Heathen Gods 
failing. Oneata. Chapel Opening. Tangithi's Illness. 
Lualala. Visit of King George of Tonga. Lomalomn. 
Cannibal Scenes at Somosomo. Sickness. Confessions 
of a Priest. A Bad Englishman. Great Work in Ono. 
Success at Wathiwathi. First Parting with the 
Children. Illness of Mrs. Calvert. Death of Hunt. 
Farewell to Lakemba pp. 55 11(5 

CHAPTER IV. 
V1WA. 

How the Lord Provided a Printer. Thakombau. War and 
its Horrors. Heroism of Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth. 
Signs of Success. A Great Grief. Mediation to procure 
Peace. Lakemba Revisited. Death of Tanoa. Horrible 
Observances. State Visit of Tui Thakau. Hard 
Struggle with Cannibalism. Elijah Verani. Thakombau 
Lotus. A Great Joy. Narrow Escape at Moturiki. 
Another Visit to Lakemba. Great Value of Lyth's 
Training Work. Troublous Times. Mediation Work. 
End of Cannibalism at Mbau. Visit of King George of 
Tonga. A Voyage with the King. Establishment of 
Peace, and Spread of Christianity. Leaving Fiji. Call 
at Rotumah pp. 119 17.") 

CHAPTER V. 
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 

Arrival in England. Woodbridge and Bible Work. 
Catholicity. Mission Advocacy. The Call to return to 



CONTEXTS. 



Fiji. Voyage Out. Arrival at Lakemba. First Mis- 
sionary Meetings at Mbau and Viwa. Settled at 
Ovalau. Moturiki Revisited. Diplomatic Work. 
Eevision and Blind Shem. Visit to Lakemba. Beginning 
of the Jubilee Chapel. Presentation of Address. 
Rejoicing on account of Great Success. School Feast 
at Mbau. Training Institution on Kandavu. Another 
Visit to Rotumah. Ordination of Native Ministers. 
Farewell Services. Left Fiji . . . .pp. 179208 



CHAPTER VI. 
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 

Busy Occupation in Australia. Voyage Home. Bromley. 
Work for Fiji. For the Bible Society. Offer for Service 
in South Africa. Appointment to Bloemfontein. 
Arrival. Boers and Natives. Appointed to the Diamond 
Fields. New Rush. The Native Problem. His Work 
and its Circumstances. Removal to the Transvaal. 
Potchefstroom. Return to Kimberley. Address and 
Presentation on Leaving. England . . pp. 211 232 

CHAPTER VII. 
THE LATER YEARS. 

Torquay. Death of Mrs. Calvert. Should Missionaries be 
Married ? Penjerrick. Croydon. Gift to the Mission 
Fund. Fijian Jubilee. Bible Pictures. Last Voyage 
to Fiji. Journal. Tonga. Fiji. New Zealand. San 
Francisco. Across America. New York. Home. 
Speech at City Road Chapel. Sevenoaks. Missionary 
Conference of 1888. Marriage. Hastings. Bible 
Society. Work for Fiji. Conference at Nottingham. 
Temperance. Failing Health. Services in Hastings. 
Last Public Act. Last Letter. Last Scripture Reading. 
Last Illness. Funeral Service. Testimony of the 
Rev. John Walton. A Portraiture. Memorial Sketch 
by the Rev. William Arthur . . . .pp. 235303 



CHAPTER I. 

EARLY DAYS AND PEEPARATION. 



The Starting-point. Birth. Childhood. Schooling. Appren- 
ticeship. First Signs of Spiritual Life. Illness and 
Decision. Conversion. Beginnings of Christian Service. 
Beverley. Sickness. Colchester. Fuller Blessing. Call to 
the Ministry. His Offer accepted. Preparations. Appointed 
to Fiji. Marriage. Voyage. Sydney. An Earnest of 
Success. 



JAMES CALVEET 



CHAPTER I. 

EARLY -DAYS AND PREPARATION. 

" "TTTHEN, at eighteen years of age, it pleased the 
Lord to have mercy upon me, to pardon 
all my sins, and give me to know the reality and 
blessedness of true religion, I felt that that religion 
was the ' one thing needful ' for every soul of man. 
I went and talked with my father about it, and my 
brothers and sisters, and all with whom I was connected. 
It, pleased God to direct me to go into the villages 
to read the Scriptures to the people, and exhort 
them to turn from sin, and believe in the Lord Jesus 
Christ to the saving of their souls ; and ultimately 
my way was made plain for going abroad to preach 
the Gospel of Christ to the heathen." 

About a year after his first return from Fiji, James 
Calvert told, before a great assembly in London, 
some of the wonderful story of the mission in which 



JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



he had taken part, and the above words were his 
preface to the history. Since then, how many 
thousands in different parts of the world have been 
thrilled and stirred by his narrative ! 'And those who 
thus heard him recollect how, in most instances, his 
opening words were after the manner of these here 
quoted from his memorable Exeter Hall speech in 
1857. In the history, as he surveyed it, of his 
successful life, all things arranged themselves around 
the central fact of his own conversion. Through all 
his career he looked back to that fact as the starting- 
point ; and from year to year, through a long life, all 
the witness he bore and the work he wrought was 
ever freshly quickened by the unfailing inspiration 
of its remembrance. 

The life of James Calvert the missionary begins 
precisely where he dated it. Of all that happened 
before concerning him there is really very little to tell. 
When he was born at Pickering, on January 3rd, 
1 813, the event acquired no importance from his pedi- 
gree or family history. His parents removed a few 
months afterwards, carrying their firstborn infant 
with them, to Thorpe Basset, near Malton, where 
his father became bailiff to George Parker, Esq., 
of Sutton Grange, near Norton, of whom he after- 
wards rented the farm on which he lived. Here 
several other children were born to him. In this 
village James passed his childhood, and was sent, in 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 5 

due time, to its National School, where his attendance 
was too frequently interrupted by the more urgent 
necessity of going to search for a missing sheep, or 
by employment in such work as a small boy could do 
on the farm, where every hand was busy. 

There must have been something winsome and 
promising about the lad, for when he was eleven 
years old Mr. Parker took him into his own house, 
so that he might have the advantage of a good 
school at Malton. He always spoke gratefully of the 
kindness with which he was treated in this new 
home, where he seems to have lived for two years, 
and then his schooling came to an end. At the age 
of fourteen he was apprenticed to a printer and 
bookseller in Malton, becoming, at the same time, a 
member of his master's household. 

Of his parents he cherished a very loving and 
reverent recollection. Judging from his portrait, 
which Mr. Calvert prized as one of his home 
treasures, the father was after the best type of a 
Yorkshire tenant-farmer. That portrait an oil- 
painting it may be mentioned here, was carried 
about by the son in his far journeyings, and thus 
came to be transported from the Wolds to a mission- 
house in the South Seas, where it was the object of 
the awed wonder of the natives, who gave it the 
peculiar salute reserved for a chief, and, in some 
instances, brought to it goods for barter. It never 



JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



ceased to cause them an uneasy astonishment that 
the eyes looked straight at them wherever they 
themselves moved. 

A few fragmentary notes written in after years are 
almost the only record which remains of his youth ; 
and these notes mark out just one line only, leading 
up to the supreme event of his conversion. It is 
known that he fulfilled his apprenticeship satis- 
factorily, and was very diligent in perfecting himself 
in each branch of his master's trade. At an early 
part of this period he lost his mother, to whom he 
was very closely attached. During her last illness 
he walked the five miles out to Thorpe Basset every 
night, and walked back to Malt on each morning in 
time for his work. At this point there is the 
first evidence of strong religious feeling. The lad 
was intensely anxious for his mother's salvation ; 
and those who were present never forgot how he fell 
on his knees beside her death-bed, and pleaded with 
God that she might know His pardoning love. 
Thus, his love for his mother revealed an inner life 
of conviction, which no thought on his own account 
had yet brought him to acknowledge. 

As a child he had been taken by his parents 
to their parish church, but had also with them 
occasionally attended the services in the nearest 
Methodist chapel. After coming to Malton, he 
seems to have gone to the latter more frequently. 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 7 

Here, one Sunday evening, he heard the Kev. Joseph 
Mortimer preach, and, as he says, was deeply con- 
vinced of sin. He tells how he " wept and prayed, and 
went into the prayer-meeting in the vestry, and 
returned home in great trouble." But, having no 
one to counsel and encourage him, and being 
associated with sinful companions, he did not yield 
to the conviction which had been so deep. Still it 
never altogether left him ; and though he did not 
wholly resist those who led him into evil, he suffered 
frequent distress through the sharp conflict between 
his quickened conscience and his habits of sin. 
Things went on thus until he was seventeen, when 
he had a very severe illness, so severe that he speaks 
of being " threatened with death." Then, when he 
had but little hope of recovery, he vowed that, if he 
should return to life, he would give himself to the 
service of God. He got better, and went back to his 
work. Restrained by his vow, he refused again to 
follow the old influences of evil which had led him 
astray. But it was bondage and perpetual weariness to 
him. His conscience coerced him, and the obedience 
he tried to render was really an unwilling servitude. 
He now was regular in his attendance at the Metho- 
dist chapel, and, when eighteen, became a member 
of the church which worshipped there. 

Portions of a diary, copied in his later handwriting, 
give in his own words the story of his deliverance. 



JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



" April 8th, 1831. Of late I have been much cast 
down, and feared for some time that I should not 
obtain the pardon of my sins. And a very trying 
time is near the races, lists for which we have to 
print and much excitement is not easily avoided. 
At the prayer-meeting this evening I prayed very 
earnestly to the Lord all the time, beseeching Him 
to forgive my sins, and save my soul. I have many 
times been disappointed ; and now the enemy of my 
soul insinuated that I could not obtain any proof of 
God's mercy and pardon. But God's promise, ' Ask, 
and ye shall receive,' was present to my mind, and 
encouraged me. After the meeting I went with a 
praying companion to visit an aged woman who was 
confined to her room ; and while he was praying for 
that devoted woman, I was pleading with God to 
have mercy upon me, and save me. And that 
evening, in that small room, I beheld Christ with 
an eye of faith, as having loved me, and borne my 
sins in His own body. I put my trust where God 
had laid my only and all-sufficient help. Believing 
on my Lord and Saviour, I felt ' my debt was paid, 
my soul was free, and I was justified.' 

' The opening heavens around me shone 

With beams of sacred bliss ; 
For Jesus showed His mercy mine, 

And whispered, I was His.' 

I felt that this was what I had wanted all along ; 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 9 

that this salvation fully met my case, and that 
nothing else could have done." 

Are there far away from all superstitious thinking 
omens in the Christian's course ? In this dawn 
of a long day of devoted service, was it not, at least, 
beautifully fit, and a presage and promise of that 
which was to come, that James Calvert's first know- 
ledge of " the joy of the Lord " came to him while 
he was ministering to that old bedridden saint ? In 
loving ministration his Christian life began; and 
thus it ran its course and ended. 

The next paragraph was evidently written many 
years afterwards. It adds to the record of that new 
beginning the witness of a long life's hard testing 
and manifold experience. 

" That was THE EVENT in my life, and it is the 
event in any one's life. All the help and mercy 
and salvation and blessing required by guilty, de- 
praved, helpless man, all are provided in the atone- 
ment of Christ, and the gift of the Spirit all are 
provided and offered and realised in the salvation 
of the Gospel. "What a privilege and comfort to 
offer this to any, to all ! 

" October 25th. The Spirit has wrought mightily 
in my soul for some time, convincing me of my need 
of a further work of grace, and urging me to seek 
full salvation. Keligion is sweet to me. Why not 



10 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

enjoy a fulness of blessing ? Shall I divide the rich 
grace of God with any other thing ? I dare not. I 
thank the Lord for this. Good Lord, help me to 
press forward to attain all that it is my privilege 
to enjoy. May the world not share my heart at all ; 
but may I live to Thy glory, do all Thy will, be a 
burning and shining light ! And do Thou be pleased 
to convert my relatives and friends, and save us 
all!" 

That closing petition marks the first stirring in 
this young heart of the impulse to communicate to 
others the good with which he himself had been 
richly blessed. From the beginning he obeyed that 
impulse; and his way opened, step by step, until 
his life passed on into a widening beneficence which 
brought good to multitudes. How easily it might 
have been otherwise ! In how many cases sad 
to think it is far otherwise. That impulse of 
loving zeal is not an occasional accident, but a very 
instinct of the new life. Every child of God is 
born with it. Alas for those who learn how to 
resist and check it until it dies away ! And alas for 
the kingdom of God, which is hindered in its progress 
by the barren selfishness of their religion ! 

Early in 1832, the young convert, having entered 
his twentieth year, began to speak in public of the 
grace and truth which had made so great a change 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 11 



in his own life ; and shortly afterwards was placed 
" on trial " as a local preacher. In the following 
year his apprenticeship came to an end, and he 
found employment at Beverley. Soon afterwards he 
writes : 

" Several times I have thought that I would not 
go out as a preacher. Still I earnestly desire to do 
what God wills concerning me. Some ministers and 
local preachers at Malton and Beverley have advised 
me to continue. The conviction that I ought to 
give myself to the work of the ministry increases 
upon me. Before any one asked me to preach I was 
led to prepare a sort of sermon on ' Kepent ye, and 
believe the Gospel.' Whenever I live to God the 
impression of my duty to preach is deepest ; and I 
have again and again felt Divine assistance in speak- 
ing, and have had the consolations of the Holy 
Spirit when doing, according to my ability, what I 
knew to be my duty. I have to contend with 
principalities and powers. The enemy would stop 
me. May the Lord direct me, and cause me to do 
His will ! " 

After remaining a few months in Beverley, he 
again became very ill, and was altogether laid aside 
for a time. For several years his health had been 
far from robust, and gave no promise of the vigorous 
and prolonged life that was to follow. He went to 



12 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Bridlington to be under the care of the late 
Dr. Sandwith. " While quite prostrate," he says, 
" I was blessedly happy, and left myself entirely in 
God's hands, desiring to glorify Him either by life 
or death." During his convalescence he was the 
guest, for a short time, of the Rev. Jabez Banks, Vicar 
of Bempton, near Bridlington. He does not tell how 
this visit came about ; and no information can now 
be gleaned concerning it. The only link of con- 
nection with young Calvert that can be traced is, 
that Mr. Banks was a native of Thorpe Basset, and 
thus knew the family there. He is still remembered 
in Bempton as an earnest and godly minister. 
Calvert says he was " a very devoted man, and 
successful. My stay there I much enjoyed." 

Having regained his health, he, for the first time, 
left Yorkshire, and travelled southwards, engaging 
himself to a printer at Colchester. Here he re- 
mained for three years, working at his craft, and 
on Sundays doing full service in the Essex villages 
as a local preacher. The following record belongs 
to this period, and marks, as he always reckoned it, 
a memorable crisis in his history. 

" After my conversion I was much harassed by the 
remains of sin, not understanding how sin could 
exist in a justified person, nor yet the method of 
deliverance from what was such a trouble to me. I 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 13 

read various works, and had conversation with 
Christian friends, and at length felt my mind 
settled on the subject, especially by reading care- 
fully the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, who are 
highly spoken of as having real Christian experience 
in i. 1, 3, 4 : and in iv. 3, 1 read that God's will was 
their sanctification ; and then the Apostle prayed 
that they might be fully saved, and preserved blame- 
less, in v. 23. Still the Lord gave me great trouble 
about pride, unbelief, self, and various things that I 
felt in my heart contrary to His love ; and I earnestly 
sought to be delivered from all evil. While pleading 
in my bedroom about a year ago I felt His sanctifying 
influence in a special manner ; and I have been able 
since that time to love God with all my heart. I trust 
I shall live a life of faith on the Son of God, growing 
daily in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ." 

More than fifty years afterwards, one told, in a 
meeting at Hastings, how, in his youth, he was 
walking along a country road in Essex on a certain 
Sunday, and fell in with a young local preacher, who 
spoke to him lovingly and faithfully about his soul ; 
" and," said he, " the straight talk of James Calvert 
and his sermon that evening were made the means 
of my conversion." 

During his residence in Essex the conviction 
deepened in his mind that he was to give himself 



14 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



wholly to the work of the Christian ministry ; and 
the May of 1837 found him in the presence of the 
London District Meeting as a candidate for this 
office. He put himself absolutely at the disposal of 
the Wesleyan-Methodist Conference, stating, how- 
ever, that his sympathy had been specially quickened 
on behalf of the heathen abroad. He pleaded ear- 
nestly that he might enjoy the benefit of specific 
training in the Theological Institution, which was 
then in the third year of its existence in London, at 
Hoxton, and that he might pass the years of his 
ministerial probation at home, so as to become better 
prepared for foreign service. 

He took this step with the most solemn deliberation, 
but, at the same time, and without any inconsistency, 
with great gladness of heart. It caused him much 
misgiving as to his own fitness, but not as to any- 
thing else, except in one particular. It has already 
been told that, as an apprentice, he did his best to 
become a skilled craftsman. So afterwards, he liked 
his work and therefore put his heart into it. He 
was fond of a business life ; and his special calling 
had given him a wide opportunity of gaining service- 
able business knowledge. He had thus become 
expert as a printer and as a bookbinder, and had 
also learned the bookselling trade, to which had 
been added the work of a branch post-office. Besides 
all this, he had considerable experience in the sub- 



EARLY DAYS AND PREPARATION. 15 

editing of a local newspaper. Now, he looked with 
some dismayed questioning at the waste of all this 
preparation for a career which he felt impelled to 
abandon. He soon discovered that there was no 
waste at all ; and, as the years passed on, he learned to 
value all his business training as a specially ordained 
part of his equipment for his life's higher service. 

Already his thoughts were being drawn towards 
the missions in which a great part of his life was to 
be spent. Letters had recently been published from 
the Friendly Islands, where the mission was push- 
ing on with great vigour and much success. The 
Eev. Peter Turner wrote from Samoa, in the neigh- 
bouring group of Navigators' Islands. He had just 
entered upon this mission, and was already greatly 
encouraged. He urged that a printer, with a fully 
furnished press, should be sent out immediately. 
Having seen this appeal, the young candidate sug- 
gested that his knowledge of the business might 
make him serviceable where a printer was required. 

He was so far committed in his own purpose to 
the career to which he believed himself called, that 
he had recently removed to London, and found 
employment in the office of the well-known and 
learned Methodist printer, James Nichols, and had 
gained permission to attend some of the lectures and 
classes at the Hoxton Institution. Being convinced 
of the immense importance, if he should be sent 



16 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

abroad, of gaining some working knowledge of at 
least the elements of medicine and surgery, he put 
himself under the instruction of a well-qualified 
man, who had the good sense not to attempt to 
teach him too much ; and also accompanied a friend, 
who was studying medicine, to a hospital, where 
he got some general outlines of anatomical know- 
ledge in the dissecting-room, and some valuable 
practical principles of surgery in the operating 
theatre. The information thus acquired was of 
great service to him and to many others ; and, on 
his return from Fiji, he insisted strongly upon the 
necessity of giving some specific training of this 
kind to all young missionaries. 

At the Conference of 1837 he was accepted as a 
candidate for the Ministry, and forthwith entered 
Hoxton as a resident student. He had been here 
but little more than six months when an importunate 
appeal came for the immediate reinforcement of the 
new mission to the Fijian Islands. This appeal was 
widely circulated, and met with a very warm re- 
sponse. The people at home sent in special contri- 
butions, and strongly urged the Missionary Committee 
to despatch the required help at once. The Com- 
mittee decided to send two men and a printing press. 
With devoted liberality, the widow of Robert Carr 
Brackenbury, of Raithby Hall, Lincolnshire, offered 
to bear the cost of outfit and passage of John Hunt, 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 17 

a young Lincolnshire man, who had been studying 
for more than two years at Hoxton, and, with Thomas 
Jaggar, was now designated for Fiji. She further 
offered to give 50 annually towards his support for 
three years if a third man should be sent. The Com- 
mittee consented ; and young Calvert was selected 
for the post. Thus his college training came to an 
untimely end; and throughout his life he greatly 
deplored the loss. 

Calvert's commission for Fiji reached him on 
March 15th, 1838, with instructions to make all 
necessary preparations to sail in a month from that 
time. Amongst the most important of these pre- 
parations was his marriage, in regard to which he 
had not even entered into any formal engagement. 
He had, a few months before, been introduced into 
the home of his friend, Philip Fowler who was 
himself shortly to enter the Wesleyan Ministry in 
the village of Aston Clinton, in Buckinghamshire, 
and had thus formed the acquaintance of Miss Mary 
Fowler. Afterwards another visit had been paid, 
but no apparent progress had been made towards a 
closer intimacy. When, however, the missionary 
summons compelled immediate action, and Calvert 
hastened down to Aston Clinton to ask Mary Fowler 
to become his wife, and to start in a few weeks 
for the South Seas, it became evident that a very 
important approach to a good understanding had 

2 



18 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

already been tacitly effected. She gave her con- 
sent ; and, a week later, they were married. 

After giving himself to the Lord, James Calvert 
never did a better thing for himself or for the 
sacred service to which he was committed than 
when he gained Mary Fowler for his wife. She was 
an earnest Christian, and had devoted herself to 
Christian work to the full measure of her oppor- 
tunities. She had good health, a bright and in- 
domitable spirit, singularly free from selfishness, and 
quick with the warmest sympathies. She rejoiced 
in enterprise, and held herself cheerfully ready to 
undertake toil or incur danger as the call came. 
Never once did she encumber her husband's work, 
but, by her unsparing self-devotion, her tender 
lovingkindness, joined with great natural sagacity 
and shrewd good sense, was a source of strength and 
joy to him through the greater part of his life. 

A few days after the marriage, Mr. Calvert, with 
his two companions in the mission, John Hunt, and 
Thomas J. Jaggar, was ordained at Hackney ; and 
the party embarked at Gravesend on April 28th, on 
board the Despatch, Captain Wood, bound for 
Sydney. The voyage, which lasted four months 
all but five days, was a good one, and without re- 
markable incident. They received a warm welcome 
and generous hospitality in Sydney ; and the young 
missionaries, during the two months they spent in the 



EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 19 



colony, were fully employed in preaching and attend- 
ing various meetings, and in getting stores together 
for their further voyage and for use in the islands. 

The following extract from Mrs. Calvert's Life* 
belongs to this period, and shows how thoroughly 
Mr. Calvert and his bride were one in the Master's 
service, and how He gave them at the very outset of 
their united life to taste together the blessedness of 
success. In Sydney 

" Mr. Calvert had to take an out-door service one 
Sunday morning near the Haymarket. With a little 
impatience of zeal, as it seemed to some, he began 
before the appointed time, and found no congrega- 
tion. His young wife accompanied him, and, as 
she had often done at home, started the tune of the 
opening hymn. Very soon the people gathered to 
the sound, and the preacher went on with his work, 
his faithful companion standing by and handing 
tracts to those who would take them. The next 
day a letter came from a gentleman, telling a 
strange story. On the Saturday he had landed 
from Tasmania, where he had been living a godless 
life for many years. At his lodgings, when night 
came, he made the discovery that his pocket had 
been picked, and about forty pounds stolen. The 
shock of finding himself thus penniless and friend- 

* Memoir of Mary Calvert, London, 1882. 



20 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

less in a strange land excited and aggravated the 
misery of a guilty conscience, and he fell into utter 
despair ; insomuch that, in the course of a restless 
night, he resolved to put an end to his life. In the 
morning he sharpened his penknife, and went out 
towards the churchyard, intending there to open an 
artery in his neck. On his way, the clear, sweet 
voice of a singer broke in upon his dark mood like 
a holy spell, and he must needs turn aside to listen ; 
and the thought formed itself that it would be well 
to join in one act of worship before he died. As he 
heard song, and prayer, and exhortation, long- 
forgotten good came crowding back into his mind 
the thought of a Methodist home far away in 
London, and his mother, a good class-leader, who 
died when he was a boy ; and, receiving a tract, as 
he said, ' from the young lady,' he turned away to 
face life once more. The reading of the tract 
completed his decision to seek after God. When 
told afterwards that the preacher he knew not why 
had begun the service too soon, he wept, and said. 
' If you had not, I should have been a dead man.' " 

It would appear that out-door preaching in those 
days in Sydney was resented as an innovation ; and 
gave rise to a newspaper controversy, in which the 
young missionaries were roundly abused on one side, 
and warmly defended on the other. 



CHAPTER II. 

ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 



How the Mission in Fiji was begun. "Cross and Cargill. Voyage 
from Sydney. Visit to the Friendly Islands. Arrival in 
Fiji. Settled at Lakemba. Trading with the Natives. 
Language. Pilfering. Native Justice. First Preaching and 
Printing. Wreck and Peril of Native Christians. Voyaging 
in Fiji. Mbau. Tanoa. Viwa and Namosimalua. Eewa. 
Narrow Escape at Moturiki. The Firstborn. Namuka. 
Arrival of the Eev. K. B. Lyth. Left Alone at Lakemba. 
Lomaloma. Encouragements. Self-sown Seed of the 
Kingdom. 



CHAPTER II. 

ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMB A, 

AT this point it i$ necessary to tell how things 
stood with the new mission to Fiji in 1838. 
It had been begun just three years before, and this 
is how it came to pass. The important group of the 
Friendly Islands, in the South Pacific, had been 
occupied by the Wesleyan-Methodist Missionary 
Society in 1826, and the work had advanced year 
by year with marked success, so that, nine years 
after the commencement, there were eight mission- 
aries on the ground, and a church had been formed 
of more than four thousand members. 

The Tongans the name given to the Friendly 
Islanders from one of the chief islands of this group 
were always bold and skilful navigators, and 
voyaged far on those great double canoes which 
excited the admiration of Captain Cook, and would 
carry nearly a hundred men, besides several tons of 
freight. They had long traded with the larger group, 
two hundred and fifty miles westward, named Viti, 



24 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

or as the Tongans called it, Fiji.* The missionaries 
in Tonga thus got to hear much about Fiji and its 
inhabitants ; and what they heard was about as 
terrible a story as could be told of savagery grown to 
hideous proportions among a strong, able, and in- 
telligent people. Cannibalism, with all its attendant 
horrors of murderous outrage, was an established 
institution, having its exact code of rule and observ- 
ance. Wars were frequent, and the strangling of 
widows and destruction of infants were practices of 
recognised custom. 

To the little mission band, who had surmounted 
the first difficulties of their work in Tonga, there 
was nothing to attract in the forbidding picture thus 
set before them, except the urgent claims of the 
people's own immense want. This claim they 
speedily acknowledged, never doubting that they 
were called to challenge the hitherto undisturbed 
rule of darkness in Fiji. The very significant fact, 
however, must not be forgotten, that the first work 
of the Gospel in Fiji, though feeble and imperfect, 
was done by Tongan Christians. Of the many 
Tongans who voyaged to the other group, and were 
sometimes compelled by persistent adverse winds to 

* It is now universally known by this name, although, 
curiously enough, the sounds represented by the first and 
third letters of the word do not exist in the language of the 
Viti people themselves. 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 25 

stay there for months together, some were converts ; 
and they carried with them, and made known the 
truth which had brought blessing to them and their 
own land. By the help of these, on their return 
home, and by intercourse with Fijian sailors, the 
missionaries gained an elementary knowledge of the 
language sufficient to eDable them to take the first 
steps towards giving it a written form. Not only was 
an alphabet thus provided, but a " First Book " of four 
pages was printed, and a simple catechism prepared. 
This provisional work, alphabet and all, had, of 
course, to be revised afterwards in the light of 
further knowledge. 

The mission staff was all too small to meet the fast- 
growing demands of the work in the Friendly Islands, 
which had just been rapidly extended by a wonderful 
visitation of power, followed by the conversion of 
thousands, including the supreme chief, King George, 
and his queen. At the close of 1834, the year of this 
great revival, the District Meeting resolved to set 
apart two missionaries at once to enter upon the 
new mission to Fiji ; but it was not until October 
of the following year that the Eev. William Cross 
and the Kev. David Cargill, with their wives 
and little children, landed at Lakemba, the island 
nearest to Tonga, where, among the large number 
of Tongan immigrants, and because of the fact that 
the language of these was more or less familiar to 



26 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

many of the islanders, it was possible to begin work 
at once. 

The history of the first three years of the mission 
is of thrilling interest. The leaders of it suffered 
greatly from sickness and want. They endured at 
times active persecution ; and certainly, to them, 
increase of knowledge of their surroundings brought 
increase of sorrow. The enormous difficulties of the 
work seemed to them now far greater than when 
they first took it up. But they never faltered ; and 
such success was won that their hopes were larger 
and more confident than ever. 

This, then, was the state of affairs in 1838. Here 
was an archipelago stretching about 300 miles from 
north to south, and the same distance from east to 
west, containing some 80 inhabited islands, for 
the most part very small, but with two of considerable 
size Viti Levu having an area of 4,112 square 
miles, and Vanua Levu 2,432. The population of 
the whole group was about 130,000. They seem 
never to have been idolaters in the sense of 
attempting to represent their gods in material 
.form. Certain stones, however, and certain birds 
and other animals were specially reverenced as, in 
some vague way, enshrining deities. Most of their 
gods were strictly local, and had temples where 
offerings were presented, and priests who exercised 
a very real power over the people. The system of 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 27 

government was essentially feudal. The local chiefs, 
holding well-defined grades of varying rank, were 
tributary to certain greater chiefs or kings; and 
at the time now described the supreme power was 
being steadily gathered into the hands of one man, 
Tanoa, whose son, the late Thakombau, ceded the 
group to Great Britain in 1874. Near to the royal 
town of this potentate, in the west or leeward part 
of the group, Mr. Cross had gone to live, so that the 
mission had two centres, one at Lakemba on the 
east, and another about 200 miles to the west, at 
Eewa, on the south-east of Viti Levu, or Great 
Fiji. 

Our missionary party in Sydney found that the 
work of collecting and packing goods and articles 
for barter was no light business, for it was impossible 
to foresee when the next supplies would reach them, 
as communication with the islands was very un- 
certain. Their passage was taken on board a small 
schooner, which proved to be a wretched craft, badly 
found, and showing more capacity for pitching and 
rolling, even when there was but little wind, than 
for making headway when the weather was most 
favourable. They had a good start, however; for 
there was leaving Sydney, on the same day, the Kev. 
John Williams, of the London Society, accompanied 
by a band of nine missionaries. In little more than 
a year afterwards this veteran was killed and eaten 



28 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

at Erromanga ; but no foreboding clouded the joy of 
that day, when, on board the steamer which took 
them down to the Sydney Heads, both companies 
joined in praise and prayer, and cheerily bade one 
another Godspeed. Then followed twenty-six days 
of misery. Yet our party managed on each of the 
three Sundays to hold religious services on board, 
and all three missionaries preached in turn. 

It was a wonderful refreshment and rest to get 
ashore for a little while at Tonga, where they had 
the warm welcome which, perhaps, only such 
circumstances could occasion, from the mission band 
in the islands. Here the young voyagers had their 
first sight of Polynesian scenery and life; and 
here, too, they were put in good heart by seeing 
a great Christian victory already won a plentiful 
harvest following twelve years of work and waiting. 
The king's canoe was sent to bring the ladies ashore ; 
and this was but one of many tokens telling how 
great a change had come to pass. But, most 
impressive of all, before they left the group, they 
heard the king himself preach to a congregation of 
his people. Not a word of the fluent and quietly 
earnest sermon could they understand, but they 
knew that his text was our Lord's saying, " No man 
can serve two masters," with the following counsel : 
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for 
your life," on to the end of the verse. 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 29 

The stores which they had brought for the Tonga 
mission were all landed ; and the captain of the 
Letitia was anxious to complete his somewhat risky 
voyage. But, detained by foul winds and calms, 
they were yet three weeks before they got clear of 
the Friendly Islands. On the fourth day after 
leaving they had the first sight of Lakemba, the 
easternmost of the larger islands of the group, about 
which, for some months past, they had daily 
thought, and talked, and prayed, imagining and 
wondering many things concerning this the destined 
scene of their life's work. Early on Saturday 
afternoon, December 22nd, 1838, the Letitia came 
to anchor. Mr. Cargill, in the little mission-house 
on the western side of the island, knew nothing of 
their arrival; and the three missionaries, leaving 
their wives on board, went ashore in the ship's boat, 
and walked across the island, thus bringing the 
first news of their coming. When the news reached 
him, Mr. Cargill was shaving ; and, in his eagerness, 
suspended the operation, and appeared half shaven to 
greet them. It need not be told with what warmth 
of loving welcome they were received, nor how all 
joined together in fervent praise to God. On the 
next day, Sunday, the ladies disembarked, and the 
united mission band, in that house " where prayer 
was wont to be made," joined in Divine worship, Mr. 
Hunt being the preacher. Then followed a busy 



30 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

week, getting ashore, and stowing away goods and 
stores and the printing press and all its belongings. 
A District Meeting was held, after which Mr. and Mrs. 
Hunt left to join Mr. Cross at Kewa, in the far west 
of the group. Houses also had to be prepared ; but 
every one worked with a will, and such rapid progress 
was made, that on the fourth day of the New Year 
Mr. Calvert was able to write the brief entry in his 
journal, " Commenced housekeeping." The residence 
which he thus began was expected to be but long 
enough to give him opportunity to gain some 
command of the language, as he had consented, at 
the request of his brethren, to open an entirely new 
station, at Somosomo, a town of great importance 
on an island on the north of the group. This 
arrangement, however, was never carried out; and, 
little as he expected it, he was to remain upon 
Lakemba for nearly ten years. 

The conditions of housekeeping in Fiji, in those 
early days, were strange, and some of them very 
troublesome to the young mission band. That all 
payments were made in articles of barter was, at 
first, not a little perplexing ; but it had its points 
of interest, and, above all, it gave constant oppor- 
tunities for very direct intercourse with the people, 
and the daily gathering of words and phrases used in 
common speech. In this process Mr. Calvert, from 
the beginning, proved to be very expert. Some 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 31 

members of the mission carefully built up a scien- 
tific knowledge of the Fijian tongue ; but he, with- 
out philosophic hesitation or questioning, caught 
by ear the beautiful language, with its open syllables, 
and wealth of rich, full vowels and picturesque ex- 
pressions, direct from the lips of the people, and thus 
gained very early the power of conversing with them, 
and in a few years had a ready mastery of their 
vernacular, in which he has never been excelled. 

Another marked feature of the new life was far 
less interesting; the people soon gave very un- 
welcome evidence that, besides other virtues, they 
sadly lacked honesty. The missionaries could not 
but admire the wonderful skill with which men, 
whose dress was an almost irreducible minimum, 
succeeded in secreting and carrying away little 
articles of no great value in themselves, but very im- 
portant where it was impossible to replace them. But 
the theft of their only two kettles, where no other 
kettles could be obtained, was no small domestic 
calamity. One night, a wall of one of the houses 
a wall, it should be said, constructed in native fashion 
of reeds was cut through, and a large number of 
articles of clothing were stolen. The morning dis- 
closed not only this serious loss, but a heap of stones 
placed in readiness for an attack if the inmates had 
been disturbed. When things came to this pass it 
seemed time to appeal to the principal chief, or king, 



32 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Tui Nayau, who had promised that the persons and 
property of the missionaries should be protected. 
Mr. Cargill and Mr. Calvert, therefore, waited upon 
him, and represented that their love to him and his 
people was great, and their only wish in coming to 
Lakemba and remaining in his dominions was to be 
useful to him and his people, by teaching them the 
commands of the true God, so that they might be 
blessed here and hereafter. The king replied : " I 
am ashamed because of the covetousness and dis- 
honesty of my people ; they have acted very ill ; but be 
of good mind, until I search for the stolen property ; 
and if the very articles cannot be found I will cause 
a recompense to be made for them." A few days 
afterwards, the king's brother and several other chiefs 
came, bringing back a very few of the things stolen, 
and, as recompense for the rest, the top joints of four 
little fingers, which, according to Fijian custom, had 
been cut off, not from the culprits themselves, but 
from their children ! When the missionaries ex- 
pressed their deep regret at this cruelty, they were 
told, "It is one of the ways in which we punish 
criminals ; and we hope you will be of good mind, 
that we may live together in peace." It need not be 
said that this experience of the crooked severity of 
native justice made the missionaries determine to 
put up with a great deal of loss and trouble before 
they again invoked its interference. 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKE MB A. 33 

Mr. Calvert and his young wife set themselves to 
teach the people, by example, forbearance, and a love 
which refused to be provoked to any retaliation. At 
first this altogether new thing was wholly misunder- 
stood ; but kind offices readily rendered to the 
suffering, and friendly visiting of the people in their 
own houses, at last won their confidence, and slowly 
awakened kindly feelings in return, so that, a few 
months afterwards, Mr. Calvert wrote, perhaps too 
hopefully, "We are now free from robberies and 
insult, and live in great peace. Your missionaries 
and cause are respected by the chiefs and natives, 
so that the mission appears to have obtained a firm 
and permanent establishment here." 

During the first weeks of their residence, the new 
missionaries had experience of another too frequent 
peculiarity of life in Fiji. A fierce hurricane swept 
over the island, and greatly damaged the houses of 
the mission, carrying away altogether some of the 
outbuildings. This made necessary immediate 
repairs and rebuilding; and as a place had to be 
provided for the printing-press, Mr. Calvert accom- 
panied Mr. Cargill to obtain posts for building. 
They applied to a chief of high rank who had some 
ready cut, but were met by a direct refusal. He 
told them that the posts were prepared for a temple, 
and, as the gods had seen them, he dared not let 
them go, for fear that the gods should eat him. 

3 



84 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

It was but three months after his coming that 
Calvert began to preach. No doubt his broken 
Fijian sounded strange to his hearers ; but the very 
earnestness of the man would not let him delay. 
He was well content to suffer for a time the discredit 
of speaking badly rather than not begin to speak 
the great message of which his heart was full. So 
he kept on, blundering much, but adding day by 
day to his stock of words and phrases. In later 
years, when he had opportunities of seeing mission 
work elsewhere, he thankfully recognised how much 
they owed of their success in Fiji to the fact that 
at the beginning of their enterprise there was no 
chance of their falling into the temptation to speak 
through interpreters. 

Calvert had fully reckoned upon being employed 
in working the press. One of his colleagues, how- 
ever, understood printing, and, after a good deal of 
deliberation, it was decided that the press should be 
set up at Rewa. The result fully justified this policy. 
Kewa was near to Mbau, which was gaining more 
and more of a metropolitan rank in the group ; and 
it was found highly expedient to adopt the dialect of 
the language spoken in that district as the literary 
standard. Already Cross and Cargill, the latter 
of whom was a man of good culture, had effected 
some translations, which, however imperfect, were of 
great service at the time; and as early as March 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 35 

1839, 840 copies of a First Catechism were issued 
from the mission press at Rewa, followed, soon after, 
by the Gospel according to St. Mark. 

About the same time a thing happened which 
disclosed some important peculiarities of Fijian 
custom. A chief and nine men, all Christians, were 
wrecked, and, after swimming a great distance, 
landed on an uninhabited island some two miles 
away from Lakemba. Here their peril was by no 
means at an end. They had no way of escape, 
and they dreaded discovery; for custom prescribed 
that all wrecked persons who came ashore should be 
put to death and eaten. One of them, however, at 
last ventured to swim across to Lakemba. Twice 
he returned, overcome by fear of the fate which 
threatened him. The third time he finished the 
journey, and landed unobserved. Soon afterwards 
he met some of the people, who, seeing his drenched 
condition, questioned him. The poor fellow's terror 
was too much for his newly awakened conscience, and 
he invented some story of having put clay on his 
head, and having gone into the sea to wash it off, 
that this happened at a distant place, from which he 
had swum all the way. As soon as he could, he told 
into friendly ears the secret of his companions' 
danger, and three canoes were forthwith sent off to 
fetch them. But their rescue proved to be difficult ; 
for, in their fear, they had cut for themselves clubs 



36 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

with an axe which one of them had saved, and had 
then betaken themselves to the top of a hill for 
safety. At last they recognised their friends, and 
were brought to Lakemba. Their escape was, in all 
respects, a wonderful event. It was no small thing 
that, in the case of these Christians, a horrible usage 
had not been carried out. Herein already was some 
token of hope that the old savagery would yield to 
the truth. But, besides this, the danger of the 
saved men had been desperate. They were six 
hours in the water, swimming and supporting them- 
selves on pieces of wreckage. And it surely was a 
beautiful thing, and a marvel in Fiji, that, during 
those hours of peril and weariness, the sincerity of 
their faith and love was shown in that nine times 
they gathered all together as they floated, and 
joined in prayer; and when one of their number 
became exhausted they collected the pieces of wood 
which supported them that he might rest upon 
them. The seed of the Gospel was already be- 
ginning to bring forth fruit after its kind. 

Shortly after this Mr. Calvert had his first ex- 
perience of voyaging amongst the islands. The 
missionaries had been waiting some time to visit 
the island of Ono, about one hundred and fifty miles 
away, at the extreme south of the group. The 
marvellous story of the coming and the spread of 
the Gospel here will be told later on. It is sufficient 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 37 

now to say that, without having seen a missionary, 
nearly all the inhabitants had become Christians, 
and earnestly begged for a visit that they might 
receive the sacraments, and be married with religious 
rites. At the beginning of May an opportunity 
seemed to offer, in the arrival of a small schooner 
belonging to some white people at Levuka. A 
passage was engaged, but, the wind being unfavour- 
able, it was resolved to sail to Kewa first, one 
hundred and twenty miles westward, and visit the 
brethren, Cross and Hunt, to consult with them 
about future plans. Full particulars of this journey 
of Cargill and Calvert are given as furnishing a 
fair specimen of Fijian travel in those days and for 
many years afterwards; and as introducing certain 
important actors in the history of the time. 

On the evening of the day after starting they 
reached Nukulau, a little islet six miles off Rewa, 
which is on the great island of Viti Levu, or Great 
Fiji. They sent off a letter to the mission station, 
and at midnight Mr. Hunt arrived in a small canoe, 
in which they accompanied him to Rewa, getting 
there about three in the morning. On that day, 
Sunday, Mr. Cargill preached in a chief's house to 
fifty people, and Mr. Calvert conducted an English 
service with the members of the mission. On the 
next morning they set out at three o'clock, in a 
small and rickety canoe, to visit Mbau, a little 



38 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

island scarcely separated from the mainland of 
Great Fiji, and containing what was virtually the 
metropolis of Fiji. The journey of about twenty 
miles was accomplished by 11 A.M. They were 
received very kindly by the old king, Tanoa, the 
highest chief in the entire group, whom Mr. Cargill 
describes. It may be added here that this chief 
lived and died a cannibal and a strict upholder of 
the worst customs of the people, although acting, 
for the most part, in a friendly way towards the 
missionaries. 

" Tanoa, the King of Mbau, appears to be on the 
verge of seventy. He is tall and slender in his 
person, and forbidding in his aspect. His eye still 
retains considerable lustre and keenness. The hair 
of his head is closely shaven ; his beard is bushy and 
long. Age and infirmity have made them white, 
but, through a desire to appear young, his head, face, 
beard, and breast, are generally daubed with an earth 
which produces a jet black colour. On the back of 
his head, and near his right ear, are two fearful scars, 
caused by the blows of a club which was wielded by 
the arm of his brother, Naulivou, the late King of 
Mbau, in an attempt to kill Tanoa. His conduct to 
us was kind and respectful, and his conversation 
cheerful. He presented us with a fine large hog. 
His house is incomparably the largest and best that 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 39 

I have ever seen in the South Sea Islands. The 
workmanship displays great ingenuity. Its length 
is one hundred and thirty-five feet, and its width 
forty-two feet. His son, Sera [afterwards called 
Thakombau], is not by any means prepossessing in 
his appearance and manners. He will probably be 
his father's successor in the government of Mbau. 
"While in Tanoa's house, we met with the King and 
Queen of Eewa. They are both of princely aspect 
and agreeable manners." The site was visited which 
the king had given to Mr. Cross for the mission, 
with a promise to build a mission-house for them 
a promise which remained long unfulfilled. Then 
they set out for Viwa, another small island just 
off the coast, about two miles away, and the chief 
of which, Namosimalua, had become a Christian. 

" Such a remarkable man as Namosimalua, the 
Viwan chief, deserves more particular mention. In 
all the Fijian wars of his time he had taken an 
active part, and his great shrewdness and foresight 
made him the very Ulysses of the conspirators in 
the great rebellion. It was he who gave the counsel 
to kill the old king's stripling son (Thakombau), 
who afterwards proved the prudence of the advice 
by crushing the whole revolt. When Tanoa fled, 
Namosimalua was chosen to pursue him, receiving 
as a reward Vatea, a young lady of rank, niece of 



40 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

the king, together with six whale's teeth. He, with 
his party, reached the island of Koro, while Tanoa 
was then on his flight to Somosomo. Namosi had a 
plan of his own, and, instead of going at once where 
he had reason to believe that the king was, landed 
at another part of the island. While his people 
were eager to carry on the pursuit, he delayed them 
by preparing food, and assuring them that the next 
day would be soon enough. In the meantime he 
secretly sent a message to Tanoa, warning him of 
his danger ; and when, in the morning, he and his 
followers renewed the chase, they saw the king 
sailing away out of their reach towards Somosomo, 
where he would soon be safe among his relatives. 
Keturning to Mbau with a show of great chagrin, 
Namosi asked for a fleet in which he might at once 
sail to Somosomo, and demand the person of the 
fugitive king. With a large party he went, and, as 
he fully expected, got nothing but a flat refusal. 
He had, however, accomplished his own object. He 
had convinced the other rebel chiefs of his devotion 
to their cause, while he gained the friendship of the 
king, which was to serve him well when matters 
took a turn. When Thakombau overcame the re- 
bellion and brought his father back, Namosi was 
spared, while the other revolted chiefs fell; and 
Tanoa would never consent to his death, much as it 
was urged by Thakombau, who could not forget the 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKE MB A. 41 

advice given that he himself should be slain. 
Many, though astonished at Namosi's escape, re- 
mained ignorant of the secret cause of Tanoa's 
friendship for him. Thakombau never forgave him ; 
and fifteen years afterwards Mr. Calvert had to 
plead hard that the chiefs life might be spared. 
When Namosimalua died, Thakombau exclaimed, 
' There ! you have escaped without the club falling 
on your head ! ' ' (Fiji and the Fijians, p. 409.) 

Such was the man, and such, in part, was his 
record, who had declared to Mr. Cross his intention 
to become Christian, for which step he had Tanoa's 
full sanction. It is no wonder that, knowing the 
character of the man for craftiness and deception, 
Mr. Cross distrusted his proposal, suspecting motives 
of very questionable policy. But, after a time, the 
genuineness of the chief's reformation could be no 
longer doubted ; and he continued to show great 
earnestness in seeking and receiving religious in- 
struction. His conduct remained blameless. Before 
building his own house, he had set up a large and 
beautiful chapel upon a hill in Viwa. 

" His principal wife," says Mr. Cargill, " is a person 
of very high rank, and is very interesting in her 
appearance and manners. She has made consider- 
able progress in reading. I had the pleasure of 



12 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

preaching in the new chapel to the young converts. 
They listened with much attention. As Namosi- 
malua was about to sail for another island, to transact 
some business for Tanoa, he requested GO be favoured 
with a teacher, who might accompany and instruct 
him. This appeared to me a strong proof of his 
sincerity. He is ' not ashamed of the Gospel of 
Chrisf.' " 

Mr. Calvert and his companion started in their 
crazy little canoe for Rewa, a nearly twenty miles' 
journey, with a strong contrary wind and a rough 
sea. The men worked hard, and were all but ex- 
hausted when, at midnight, they reached a point on 
the Rewa river about eight miles from the town. 
Here the missionaries landed to walk the rest of the 
distance, " which," writes Mr. Calvert, " was even 
more difficult than going in our canoe ; for the way 
was very bad and slippery, and our guide was not 
well acquainted with it. We fell down many times, 
and at length got another man to accompany us 
at a village through which we passed. We arrived 
at Rewa about three o'clock." Here they remained 
for two days in consultation about the affairs of the 
mission, and spent another Sunday. On the Monday 
they embarked once more on the schooner, and 
during the next ten days attempted again and again 
to get away, but were prevented by the weather. 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 43 

At last the wind fell, and was fair for the journey to 
Ono; but a few hours afterwards it changed and 
rose, so that they were driven back. In the night 
the gale became furious, and there seemed but 
little chance of the vessel weathering it. Day broke, 
and made their danger the more apparent. 

" No land," wrote Mr. Cargill, " was in sight, and 
the sailors did not know where we were. About 
11 A.M. land appeared on the larboard side of the 
vessel. We endeavoured to sail for it, but found 
ourselves separated from it by an extensive reef. 
The sailors, being apprehensive of not being able to 
weather the reef, spoke of running the vessel upon 
it, and keep it from swamping in deep water, and 
thus, if possible, to save our lives. In a few minutes 
another island appeared in sight, and, with the 
blessing of God on the vigorous exertions of the 
sailors, we succeeded in getting to the inside of the 
reef which surrounds the island about 2 P.M. The 
water in the inside of the reef was deep and com- 
paratively smooth, so that we sailed in safety. The 
name of the island is Moturiki ; it is in the imme- 
diate vicinity of Ovalau, and is subject to Tanoa. We 
sailed into a small bay in Moturiki, with the inten- 
tion of casting anchor, and of remaining there until 
the storm should abate ; but, the men not being 
well acquainted with the bay, the vessel ran aground, 



44 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

and, with all our exertions, we could not succeed in 
getting it into deep water. About four, the natives, 
seeing her lying on the reef, came off to us, with 
the intention, as we supposed, of plundering us ; for 
it is a custom which prevails throughout Fiji, and is a 
dictate of their religion, to plunder the shipwrecked. 
They invited us to go and sleep in their houses, 
stating that the vessel was in a very bad condition, 
and would probably never float again. They pro- 
posed to take all the property out of her, in order to 
lighten her, and used every artifice to induce us to 
abandon her. But, finding their efforts unavailing, 
they at length reluctantly left us. About high- 
water, after midnight, they returned in a canoe, and 
maintained unbroken silence. They approached 
very near to the vessel, but, finding it afloat, re- 
turned without speaking a word. Thus Providence 
watched over us, and rescued us from the designs of 
avaricious and wicked men." 

Fifteen years later, Mr. Calvert was in far greater 
peril on that same shore of Moturiki, and was 
wonderfully delivered. Now, after repairing the 
rudder, which had been injured in running aground, 
they once more got under way, the natives shouting 
and beating the sand and water with their clubs. 
On account of the heavy weather they kept within 
the enclosure of the great reef, and came to anchor 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION-LAKEMBA. 45 

in a bay of the island of Ovalau. Here they landed, 
and, with ten of the crew and ten natives, walked 
eight miles to the town of Levuka, the place where 
the white settlers lived, and where the schooner had 
been built. Here, being kindly treated by the 
white men, they were kept by stress of weather for 
thirteen days, after which they sailed for home, and, 
early on the morning of the third day, landed once 
more at Lakemba. Their long absence had been 
altogether unexpected, and Mr. Calvert's anxiety on 
account of his wife had been extreme. Good Mrs. 
Cargill well understood his trouble, and before they 
could get ashore called out to him the good news 
that he was a father, and that all was going well at 
the mission-house, where the whole mission party 
forthwith assembled, to join in a service of grateful 
praise. 

On Sunday, June 23rd, Mr. Cal vert writes : 

" Preached in English in our house this evening^ 
Our dear child was baptised to-day. Her name is 
Mary. She is only three weeks old this evening. 
About forty Fijians and Tongans were baptised at 
the same time. We held a Lovefeast in the after- 
noon. We had a very good day. Seventy spoke. 

" June 27th. Sailed for Nanuka, fifty miles dis- 
tant, in a native canoe. The wind became contrary, 
and we did not arrive until the following day. 



46 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

" June 30th. Baptised ten adults and six children, 
and preached twice. The people are steady in their 
profession of Christianity, but ignorant, having spent 
their early days in heathenism. 

" On visiting the heathen chief, who is the am- 
bassador of this place to Lakemba, I found him 
lying on a mat very ill. I talked to him some time 
about Christianity. He said that it was very good, 
and that he should become religious when the chief 
of Lakemba did. I showed him the folly of deter- 
mining to do wrong because others did, and urged 
him not to delay, but to seek preparation for meet- 
ing the King of kings, and Lord of lords. However, 
my entreaties did not produce the desired effect ; 
yet I trust that they will be as bread cast upon the 
waters, found after many days. I offered to him some 
medicine. He refused to take it, saying he was 
afraid it would kill him. I told him that it would 
have been easy for me to do injury in my own 
country ; and it would, therefore, have been unwise 
and unnecessary for me to leave all the blessings of 
England, endure all the privations and sufferings of 
a long sea voyage, and a residence in a heathen 
land, for that purpose; that my only design in 
coming to Fiji was to do good to the bodies and 
souls of men. I at length prevailed upon him to 
take some medicine. When I called upon him the 
following day he was up, and was very thankful for 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 47 

the benefit which he had received from the medicine, 
and wished to have some more. He presented me 
with a neat, good, and useful mat, as a token of love 
and gratitude. On the next day, on returning to 
the native house in which I was residing, I was 
surprised to find that he had provided a feast for 
me, and had sent a large quantity of cooked food." 

. On his return to Lakemba Mr. Calvert found 
that long-expected reinforcements had arrived. Mr. 
Lyth and Mr. Spinney had been transferred from 
the Friendly Islands ; but the latter was in such ill 
health that it was evident that he must hasten to 
New South Wales, where he died a few months later. 
It thus became necessary to revise the plans which 
had been made for the distribution of the mission 
forces ; and it was decided that Mr. Calvert should 
remain alone at Lakemba. "This," he says, 
" appeared to me a very formidable undertaking, 
that I, with only a partial knowledge of the language, 
should be the only missionary at this station, which 
is at least a hundred and twenty miles from 
Somosomo, and more than that from Rewa and 
Mbau. However, as it appeared to me that the 
present cheering prospects of our mission in the 
good openings here demanded such a sacrifice at 
some person's hands, I was perfectly willing to make 
that sacrifice if the District meeting should so 



48 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

resolve. May the Lord, whose I am, and whom I 
serve, undertake for me and bless me in this great 
work." 

Two days later all the rest of the mission party 
had left, and he writes, " We are left alone in this 
land of heathenism and thieves." With all the 
work of the mission on their hands the young 
missionary and his wife had, just at this time, a 
fresh tax on their time and strength in the 
appearance of influenza among the people, brought, 
it was believed, by an English vessel. Many were 
ill, and much work was done in looking after them 
and administering medicines. In the midst of this 
came very welcome cheer in the arrival of a canoe 
from Vavau, bringing ten Christian Tongans, with 
their wives and children. These men had come to 
help in the Fiji mission, and were at once despatched 
to different places to begin their work. 

Having heard that two persons had become 
Christians at a town called Nasaugalu, Mr. Calvert 
waited on the king and his brother to beg of them 
that no hindrance should be put in the way of these 
or of others in the Lakemba territories who should 
become converts. He obtained a somewhat cold and 
hesitating assent to his request ; but was pleased 
when the king's brother, who was notoriously 
opposed to Christianity, admitted that it was a very 
good thing. The next day Calvert went to the place 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKE MB A. 49 

and was greatly disappointed to find that one of 
the reported converts was dead, and no other could 
be heard of. On his way back he met two of the 
king's wives, who were going with a message to the 
people of Nasaugalu, that if they became Christians 
they must find a home elsewhere. He records his 
sorrow, and then plucks up courage again, as he 
enters in his journal, " The Lord reigneth ; and 
therefore, in the midst of opposition and dis- 
couraging circumstances, we are glad." Two days 
later, he writes : 

" Preached at Nukunuku and Narathaki. Travel- 
ling here is difficult. The roads if such they may 
be called are very bad. I had to walk part of the 
way barefoot. I suppose I have walked sixteen 
miles. The congregations are very small. How- 
ever, our business is to sow the seed. We have to 
prepare the way for greater things, which, I doubt 
not, will assuredly follow. Two persons embraced 
Christianity in the morning. I had also several 
opportunities of speaking to people whom I met, and 
others whom I saw working. I trust that good will 
thereby be effected. Some of the persons to whom I 
spoke are from distant islands, and some from a 
distant town on this island. By our residence here 
the torrent of vice is stemmed, and a way prepared 
for the waters of life to run through these lands. 

4 



60 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Knowledge is increasing among the heathen and 
those who are professedly Christian ; and we know 
that the religion which we teach is mighty, and the 
more it is opposed the deeper it takes root, and will 
take root, and bring forth fruit, which shall be to the 
praise and glory of Him at whose command we have 
come into this wilderness. 

"August llth. Eatu Bukarau, a chief from 
Lomaloma, came here to-day, having heard that 
some teachers had come from Tonga, desirous to 
know whether some would go to his place. He has 
maintained his profession of Christianity without 
any person to instruct him. He was much pleased 
at finding that two men would go to him when they 
had obtained sufficient knowledge of the Fijian 
language. His father, who is the principal chief on 
that island, has desired him to desist, and many 
others. The priests have said that there would not 
be rain, and the ground would be scorched so as not 
to produce food, on account of his having embraced 
religion. Their craft is in danger. He asked where 
the priests would go in the event of a famine." 

Lomaloma is a larger island than Lakemba, and 
about eighty miles distant. Only one teacher ap- 
pears to have been sent, who was warmly welcomed 
by the chief. He found ten of the people professing 
Christianity, besides six belonging to other islands. 



ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 51 

Katu Bukarau proved to be a very powerful chieftain, 
and a man of great earnestness and courage. He 
visited other chiefs, telling them all he knew of the 
Christian faith, and strongly urging them to accept 
it. Public service was held in his house, which 
was crowded, while a great number stood listening 
outside. 

In this case there is an instance of that which was 
one of the most striking and deeply interesting 
features of the early days of the Gospel in Fiji. 
In the most unerpected places, often far away from 
any spot which the missionaries had reached, they 
were surprised and made very glad to hear of a 
growth of the truth which had sprung up from seed 
carried and sown they could not tell how, until 
afterwards the whole story came to be made known. 
And let the full significance of the historical fact be 
well noted, and its evidence weighed, that wherever 
this growth appeared, the fruit which it bore, though 
differing much in measure and in the ripeness of it, 
was in all cases the same. Men not only quitted 
one faith for another, but they set themselves to 
escape from customary evils of their lives, while 
they became possessed of a strange zeal to persuade 
others to receive the newly discovered truth. 



CHAPTER III. 

LAKEMBA AND ONO. 



Planting of the Gospel in Ono. Wai. A Strange Act of Worship. 
Josiah. Isaac Ravuata. Progress. An Appeal. Voyage 
to Ono. Vatoa. Work at Ono. Safe Return. Correspond- 
ence with Hunt on Sanctification. The Story of Tovo. 
Sickness and Depression. Visit of Rev. John Waterhouse, 
and Arrival of Rev. Thomas Williams. Ono Revisited. Faith 
in the Heathen Gods failing. Oneata. Chapel Opening. 
Tangithi's Illness. Lualala, Visit of King George of Tonga. 
Lomaloma. Cannibal Scenes at Somosomo. Sickness. 
Confessions of a Priest. A Bad Englishman. Great Work 
in Ono. Success at Wathiwathi. First Parting with the 
Children. Illness of Mrs. Calvert. Death of Hunt. Farewell 
to Lakemba. 



CHAPTER III. 

LAKEMBA AND ONO. 

rhas already been stated that soon after Mr. 
Calvert's arrival, he set out with Mr. Cargill to 
visit the island of Ono, one hundred and fifty miles 
away, but was hindered by contrary winds from making 
the voyage. The wonderful and beautiful story of 
the planting of the Gospel in Ono must now be told. 
In 1835, the year in which Cross and Cargill 
landed in Fiji, there was great trouble in Ono, the 
principal of a little cluster of islands forming the 
southern outpost of the group, and tributary to 
Lakemba. An epidemic sickness thinned the popu- 
lation, and many of the men were killed in war. 
All the prescribed forms of sacrifice and worship 
were observed in order to propitiate the gods; but 
no help came. The time had arrived for sending 
tribute to Lakemba, and a chief named Wai was the 
bearer of it. In Lakemba he met a Christian chief, 
Takai, who had visited Sydney, Tahiti, and the 
Friendly Islands, and from him heard for the first 
time about the true God. He went home, carrying 



56 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

this new knowledge, which was about as scanty as it 
could be. All he had to tell his people was that 
there was one true God, named Jehovah, and that 
He required one day in the seven to be set apart for 
rest and for worship. Beyond this he could teach 
them absolutely nothing. Discontented with their 
own gods, who left them to suffer unaided, Wai and 
a few of the islanders agreed that they would try 
this new Deity, and began by keeping a Sabbath, for 
which food was prepared; and the worshippers gathered 
with their skins newly oiled, and wearing their best 
head-dresses and waist-cloths. Now a grave dif- 
ficulty met them. How should they approach the 
great God ? The idea of prayer, as an act separate 
from the mediation of a priest, was wholly unknown 
to them. After consultation, they sent for one of 
their own heathen priests to come and conduct their 
worship ; and he, knowing that the old order was 
just then in great disfavour, and, perhaps, fearing to 
refuse, consented. Surely a stranger act of religious 
worship never took place than that which followed. 
Surely, if any harvest was to follow, a smaller seed 
was never sown. When all were seated for to sit 
was the token of the most reverent respect in Fiji 
the priest, sitting amongst them, thus led their 
devotions : " Lord, Jehovah ! Here are Thy people. 
They worship Thee. I turn my back on Thee for 
the present, and am on another tack, worshipping 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 57 

another god. But do Thou bless these Thy people. 
Keep them from harm, and do them good." This 
service was repeated week by week ; but the people 
longed to know more; and when a whaler, on her 
way to the Friendly Islands, called at Ono for pro- 
visions, they took a passage on her for two messengers, 
who should lay their case before the missionaries in 
Tonga, of whom Wai had heard. This mode of 
communication, however, was long and uncertain, 
and many months passed away. 

But that curious, imperfect petition had in it so 
much of the real essence of prayer, being, in all its 
groping ignorance, a cry of want and real desire, that 
it was heard, and help came in an altogether unex- 
pected way. A canoe, manned by Christian Tongans, 
on her return voyage from Lakemba, was driven by 
foul winds out of her course, and came to Vatoa, a 
little island about fifty miles from Ono. Hearing of 
what was going on there, one of the Tongans, Josiah 
by name, went thither, and was warmly welcomed by 
the little band of seekers after God, to whom he 
preached Christ. He remained among them, teach- 
ing them, as far as he could, the truths of the Gospel. 
Before long the company of worshippers grew to forty, 
and a chapel was built, which would hold a hundred 
persons. The two messengers reached Tonga, and 
learned that missionaries had been sent to Fiji, and 
that the application for help must be made to them. 



58 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

But again the aid was to be provided in a very un- 
foreseen way. An Ono youth, of wild and restless 
disposition, had found his way to Tonga, and there 
first heard the Gospel. Thence he voyaged to 
Lakemba, where he was converted, and became a 
consistent member of the Church. Having remained 
for some time under the care and instruction of 
the missionaries, this Isaac Kavuata was, in 1838, 
sent as a teacher to his own people. On reaching 
Ono he found a hundred and twenty adults professing 
Christianity, which meant, at least, that they had 
wholly abandoned the old heathen faith and worship, 
and were trying to follow, as far as they knew them, 
the teachings of Christ. These listened to the new 
teacher with much eagerness, and cheerfully supplied 
him with food and clothing. He, having himself 
learned to read, sent word back by the canoe to 
Mr. Cargill to send him some books ; and, somehow, 
the hard-worked missionary found time to write out 
a few copies of a first catechism for his use. Before 
the year was out another Tongan teacher was sent ; 
and, after the setting up of the press in the year 
following, two more were appointed, who carried with 
them a further supply of catechisms. They found 
that more than two hundred men and women had 
declared themselves Christians. Three chapels had 
been built, and were already insufficient for the 
people who came to the services. 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 59 

In September 1839 Mr. Calvert writes in his 
journal : 

" I received the following letter from two of the 
teachers who have been stationed at Ono since 
February 1838: 'This letter is from John Havea 
and Isaac Ravuata. We love thee, Mr. Calvert. 
We make known to thee the effect of the grace of 
God since February 1838 to the present time. The 
work of the Lord has sprung up greatly. Do thou 
attend to us and the people who worship Jehovah. 
The number of the men who worship God in Ono is 
120, the women 113. We disclose to thee what we 
have received for books a great number of mats, a 
large quantity of yams, sinnet,* and native cloth. 
We have heard of scarcity of food at Lakemba, and 
desire to bring the goods to thee. The place of 
worship in Ono is 50 feet in length and 25 in width, 
but this is too small. Love from us and Lucy Havea 
to thee and Mrs. Calvert.' The following I received 
from two teachers whom I sent to a part of Ono : 
' The letter of Jeremiah Latu, Lazarus Ndrala, and 
Agnes Latu. Great is our love to Mr. and Mrs. 
Calvert. Great are the effects of the grace and love 
of God in Ndoi [a small island off Ono]. Nearly all 
the people of Ono have become worshippers of the 
Lord. The numbers at Ndoi are 48 men and 47 

* Braided cocoa-nut fibre, xised for cord of all sizes. 



60 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

women. Great are the riches [property contributed 
by the people] here belonging to thee ; but we have 
no canoe to bring the property to Lakemba. We 
are dead in love to thee [a Fijian superlative], Mr. 
Calvert, but have not a canoe to bring the food. 
We beg of thee to send a canoe, and also a little ink. 
The good report has sprung up in this land, Ono. 
There are three houses of worship in Ono, one in 
Ono Levu, one in Matakaua, and one in Ndoi. Great 
is our love to thee and Mrs. Calvert.' 

" The people from the canoe give an excellent report 
of the progress of Christianity in the island. They 
say that the chapels are crowded during Divine 
worship, and that many have to remain outside. 
They are most anxious to be taught, so that those 
belonging to the canoe who could sing or teach the 
catechism were not allowed to sleep during the 
night, but were engaged in instructing the natives. 
The people are very anxious for a visit from me 
immediately, in order that they may be married and 
baptised. 

" On hearing these reports, Mrs. Calvert said, ' Do 
you intend to go ? ' I replied, ' How can I ? ' 
' Why ? ' she asked. I answered, ' How can I leave 
you alone ? ' She said, ' It would be much better to 
leave me alone than to neglect so many people ; and 
if you can arrange for the work to be carried on you 
ought to go. " 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 61 

Upheld by this saintly heroism of his young wife, 
he made ready to go as soon as a suitable craft could 
be found in which to make the long journey. His 
reluctance to leave Mrs. Calvert and her baby alone 
might well be increased by the news which came 
just at this time of war on the other side of the 
island on which they lived. Several, including two 
chiefs, had been killed, and a good many wounded. 
One side asked leave of the king to fight out their 
quarrel. He gave his consent, telling them to fight 
night and day until one party conquered, but that 
the killed on either side were to be brought to the 
principal town to be baked and eaten ; the reason 
given being that there was a scarcity of food on the 
island. Hearing this, Mr. Calvert hastened to the 
king's house late at night, and found him in con- 
sultation with his brother and other chiefs. He 
presented a whale's tooth and a hatchet, according 
to custom, and then begged him to put an end to 
the war. After much talking the king promised 
to do so, and Mr. Calvert got home at midnight. 
Next day he found that the promise was not likely 
to be kept, and went to see the king again. He 
came away, however, much discouraged, and heard 
that the king had said, " To-morrow is the day for 
eating men." A few days after, the welcome news 
came that the people themselves had made peace. 

The rest of this first year of his mission life was 



62 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

spent in visiting the places on Lakemba and such 
outlying islands as he could reach. He was also 
working continually at the language, and was able 
to preach without reading. In addition, he seriously 
set himself to learn also the Tongan language, as 
Lakemba was the chief port for the many Friendly 
Islanders who voyaged to Fiji. He was also busy 
preparing for the press, making copies of portions of 
the New Testament which older missionaries had 
translated. Once he started to visit Ono, but was 
obliged to put back again ; and it was not until the 
last day of the year that he could again secure a 
passage. He then set out in a native canoe, carrying 
in all eighty persons. 

" December Slat. Sailed for Ono. At noon we 
were off Komo, where Josiah wished to sleep ; but, 
on my desiring him to proceed, we went to Ongea. 

"January 1st, 1840. Sailed for Vatoa ; but during 
the forenoon the sea became rough, and the wind 
strong and contrary, so that we were obliged to 
return. We reached Ongea again with difficulty. 
The men worked well. 

" January 3rd. Sailed again for Vatoa. The sea 
was very rough, so that we were driven to leeward of 
the island, and with great difficulty anchored at 
dark. 

" January 5th. Married eleven couples. On my 



LAKE MB A AND ONO. 63 

telling the chief that the law of God forbade his 
having two wives, and asking him what his mind 
was about putting away one of the two he then lived 
with, he said that his mind was truly fixed to follow 
the Lord, and therefore His law ruled him to give up 
one. He chose the aged one, the mother of his 
children. Though a teacher has been at this place 
only a month, the chief can read with ease in the 
Gospel of St. Matthew. I baptised two who have 
professed Christianity for some time. At this island 
there are five members, and thirty-nine on trial. 
The population, including the children, is seventy- 
two, and of these only three are heathens. 

" 'January 6th. Sailed to Ndoi, an island belonging 
to Ono. Wrote the names of the persons to be 
married and baptised. 1th. Married twenty couples, 
and baptised seventy-four persons. I then sailed to 
Ono Levu (Great Ono), when I met the people, and 
wrote the names of the persons to be married. I 
then married thirty-seven couples. I afterwards 
wrote the names of those to be baptised. 8th. 
Baptised a hundred and fifty-three persons, and ad- 
dressed them. 9th. Preached at Ono Levu. Visited 
the classes and schools, and met the teachers. 
10th. Went to Vuthi. Preached, married a couple, 
and baptised five. 12th. Preached at the three 
places of worship. 15th. We have been detained 
by contrary winds and the shattered state of the 



64 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

canoe. Sailed to-day, but the wind being very 
strong, and the canoe rather heavily loaded, we 
were obliged to remain at Ndoi. 19th. Preached 
at Ono Levu and Ndoi. 20th. Sailed for Lakemba. 
After being two nights at sea, we landed, through 
the kind mercy of the Lord, at Lakemba, early in 
the morning of the 22nd-, when I was pleased to 
find my dear wife and child well, without having 
been at all annoyed by the natives during my 
absence." 

Such are the bare notes of a most real and 
memorable episcopal visitation. In writing to his 
dear friend, Hunt, then at Somosomo, he tells 
something of the joy with which he witnessed the 
wonderful work of God. 

" My visit to Ono was heart-refreshing though body- 
tiring, and in some instances enough to make one 
afraid. I suppose the distance is at least a hundred 
and sixty miles, and it is a more than usually out of 
the way place. The land is very superior. I have not 
seen any island in Fiji equal to it. But the land is 
not more beautiful in its appearance and fertile in its 
productions than are the beauty and fruit of the 
work of the Lord our God amongst the natives. 
The inhabitants of Ono were proverbial for their 
insolence and bad conduct towards those who 
visited them. They even killed a Tui Nayau [a 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 65 

king of Lakemba, their own suzerain] formerly. 
But how altered their state, and how different the 
fruits that proceed from such a change in their 
views, feelings, enjoyments, and pursuits ! They are 
truly renewed characters, and exemplify in their 
conduct the transforming and powerful effects of 
the pardoning and changing grace of God, received 
by trusting in the atonement of Jesus. Seeing the 
blessed effects of the grace of God, how could I be 
otherwise than heartily glad, and exhort them all 
with full purpose of heart still to cleave to the 
Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and truth with all 
their hearts ? I felt unusually blessed in my work, 
though sometimes scarcely able to stand on account 
of weakness of body. Yet I thank the Lord that I 
was not prevented from completing my work, and 
preaching regularly during my stay. In meeting 
them in class I felt my soul quickened by hearing 
their spiritual experience ; and what brightened my 
pleasure and gratitude was, that God had brought 
all this about by native instruments. Blessed be 
His holy name, who triumphs gloriously, and works 
mightily after the sovereign counsel of His own will, 
making His name great among the Gentiles ! My 
soul would swell on such a theme as this, but I 
must close, and direct my mind and yours to 
another scene, widely different in its origin and 
probable results." 

5 



66 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

.He then goes on to tell showing the sharp 
contrasts in the mission life in those days that on 
the Sunday morning after his return, as he was 
preparing for public worship, a sudden disturbance 
broke out, begun by some heathen people molesting 
certain Tongan Christians, and swiftly spreading, so 
as to threaten a violent conflict. Already, when he 
hastened to the king's house, the men were flocking 
together, armed and blackened as for war. In the 
end the peril was averted. 

In the earlier months of 1840 Calvert was in 
bad health. This was, no doubt, largely owing to 
the straits to which they were sometimes brought in 
procuring suitable food. His predecessor had fared 
even worse ; but things were now bad enough. The 
communication with the outer world in those days 
was infrequent and uncertain ; and when their 
stores were exhausted, or their flour was spoiled, 
they subsisted very largely on yams and taro. They 
could generally get fish from the natives, but not 
always. Poultry was a rare luxury in those days ; 
and the only flesh-meat to be obtained was pork, 
the most unsuitable of all for the climate. They 
got heartily tired of it, and would sometimes practise 
on their own imagination by serving the inevitable 
pork with caper-sauce. Calvert was working very 
hard, and the want of proper food made him ill. 
With loss of strength he also lost something of 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 67 

spirit, and became, at times, depressed; and thus, 
while rejoicing in the successes gained elsewhere, 
mourned because of the want of much direct fruit 
of his own personal efforts. He showed all his soul 
in writing to Hunt. The following extracts from 
one of his letters are specially interesting as re- 
vealing the native simplicity of his character, and as 
containing the first mention of one important work 
which Hunt was proposing to himself. He had 
mentioned that he had some thought of writing 
upon the Scriptural teaching concerning Christian 
holiness. This design was afterwards carried out in 
a series of letters written to Calvert, which have 
been published, and form a most valuable system of 
careful exposition of this doctrine.* 

" Fefouary 29th. 1840. You will see from my 

letter to my depression of soul on account of 

our work in these lands, and because of my own 
experience. Please, pray for me that I may have 
the spirit of constant prayer. 

" You do well to think and write about and seek 
after entire sanctification. There is not anything 
that will do as a substitute. Our enjoyment, safety, 



Entire Sanctification : Its Nature, The Way of its A ttain- 
ment, and Motives for its Pursuit, In Letters to a Friend.. By 
the late, Rev. John Hunt. London. 



68 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

prosperity of soul, and usefulness depend upon our 
living in the enjoyment of this common Christian 
privilege, or pressing hard after it. We are safe 
and prosperous as it is explained, defended, and 
enforced by the preachers, and sought, obtained, and 
practised by the people. But how shall we preach 
it clearly and effectually if we do not enjoy it ? 
Knowing, then, as we do, this Scripture doctrine, and 
feeling that it is authoritatively pressed upon us, 
how great our guilt in neglecting our duty and 
abusing our privilege ! . . . All this and much more 
I know and feel keenly. I confess that I am verily 
guilty awfully guilty in this important matter. 
May the Lord in mercy so make me feel it that I 
may not rest until I find that rest from sin, which is 
as well the privilege as the duty of all the people of 
God. 

" On commencing my letter it was not my intention 
to make these observations at this time, as I designed 
at some future period to have thought more on the 
subject, and then to have laid before you my 
thoughts. Not that I suppose that I shall be able 
to render you any material assistance in your pro- 
posed essay ; for my mind as you must know if you 
think without prejudice is of a very common order, 
and my knowledge very scanty and superficial. . . . 
Go on, dear brother, and may the God of all grace 
grant to you all the blessings which Paul desired for 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 69 

the Ephesians, and prosper you in the great work to 
which you have set your hand." 

When Mr. Calvert visited Ono, he found among 
the candidates for baptism a girl of the highest rank 
in the island, named Tovo. 

" She could read well, was very active in teaching, 
both at the school and in private, and showed great 
diligence in visiting the sick and doing all manner 
of good. According to custom she had been be- 
trothed in infancy ; and her future husband was the 
old heathen king of Lakemba. This was well known 5 
and Mr. Calvert declined to baptise her unless she 
resolved that, at any cost, she would refuse to become 
one of the thirty wives of Tui Nayau. Tovo declared 
her firm purpose to die rather than fulfil her heathen 
betrothal. The old chief, her father, and all the 
Christians, resolved to suffer anything rather than 
give her up. When this was made quite clear she 
was baptised, taking the name of Jemima." 

" On Mr. Cal vert's return from Ono, he immediately 
informed the king of Tovo's baptism, and showed 
him that she could not now become one of his many 
wives. But the heathens at Ono saw the importance 
of the crisis, and were quietly urging Tui Nayau and 
his chiefs to demand Jemima. Whereupon the 
king equipped a fleet of eleven canoes to go to 
Ono, manning several of them with fighting men. 



70 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Hearing of this, the missionary went to him, and, 
presenting a whale's tooth, said, ' You are preparing 
to voyage to Ono. I understand that you intend to 
compel Jemima to be brought to you. I beg you 
will not do so, but allow her to remain at her own 
island, a Christian.' ' No, I am going there only for 
tribute sinnet, cloth, and pearl-shells/ ' If so, why 
do you take your warriors with you ? I should have 
thought that if you were going merely for tribute, 
you would have taken sailors; but instead of that 
you take a number of warriors.' ' Oh, they are good 
sailors also. I shall manage very well with them.' 
' Tui Nayau, before I leave you, I warn you faith- 
fully ; I love you, and therefore warn you. God's 
people are as the apple of His eye. In thus fetch- 
ing the girl you are fighting against God. You 
will imperil your own safety if you go on such an 
errand. Remember that on the sea, and on all the 
islands between Lakemba and Ono, the Lord Jehovah 
rules supreme, and can easily punish you if you are 
found fighting against Him. Take care what you 
are about.' ' Oh no ; I don't intend anything of the 
kind. I am only just going to my own island to 
fetch tribute, as I have done before.' 

" Finding that he could get no acknowledgment 
nor concession, Mr. Calvert said on parting : ' I hear 
what your mouth says, but do not know what your 
heart intends. I do not know what you really 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 71 

purpose ; but forewarn you that you are risking 
your own safety if you attempt to fetch Tovo from 
Ono.' 

" On the Sunday the king sailed with his warriors. 
He had been requested to delay starting till the 
Monday, as two of the canoes, on one of which was 
his brother, were manned by Christian Tongans. He 
refused, telling them to follow the next day. The 
voyage went on prosperously, and the party stopped 
night after night at the several islands lying in the 
route, and at last reached Vatoa, within a short day's 
sail of Ono. Here Tui Nayau threw off all disguise, 
and, by his ill-treatment of the Vatoan Christians, 
showed plainly what he purposed at Ono. Food and 
property were wantonly destroyed ; and no one 
might complain, as the people had committed the 
great offence of having become Christians before 
their king. Wishing to make very sure, the ex- 
pedition waited several days for a fair wind. Four 
canoes, carrying men of the sailor tribe, who lived 
by piracy and pillage, were sent on at once to be 
ready for any emergency, and to do the king's will 
should any disturbance arise. These canoes, with 
about a hundred souls on board, were never heard of 
again. Either they went down at sea, or were cast 
on some island, where they would, according to law, 
be killed and eaten by the inhabitants. 

" A fair wind came, and the king started with two 



72 JAMES CALVEBT OF FIJI. 

canoes manned by heathen Tongans. But the wind 
shifted ; and though they sighted Ono, they could 
not lie up for it. The canoes were brought as near 
to the wind as possible, and tried to beat ; but, do 
what they would, they still drifted to leeward. 
They saw the reef and the high land. Then the wind 
freshened, and they were obliged to strike sail. 
The masts were lowered, to let the canoes drift as 
easily as possible, and all chance of making Ono 
was gone. Things were now in a bad way with 
them. The breeze got stronger and the sea very 
rough, making the canoes pitch and labour terribly. 
Then the canoe-house loosened, and the sailors were 
in great fear. As the night closed over them the king 
seemed to give up all hope of rescue. He thought 
of the missionary's warning, and was Very fearful. 
Making up his mind to die, he oiled himself, put on 
his royal dress and a beautiful necklace, and awaited 
his fate. He prayed to his god, promising great 
offerings and the sacrifice of a large pig, fed by his 
own hand, if he should return safely. Next morning 
the two crews were delighted to find themselves in 
sight of each other, and far away from islands at 
which they could not have landed in safety. During 
the day they got to Totoya, where the indirect 
influence of Christianity had already made a change, 
and where the king and the Tongans were known 
and respected. After receiving, for several days, kind 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 73 

treatment, for which the Totoyans would expect a 
generous return on their next visit to Lakemba, the 
wind became fair, and the two canoes started for 
home. Immediately on their return the king 
begged the missionary that his ' words of warning 
might never follow him again.' He was very kind 
to Mr. Calvert, and when the Tongan sailors were 
expecting a feast on the great pig that was to be 
sacrificed to the god, they heard, to their chagrin, 
that it had been sent to the missionary, who had 
already salted it down. Thus did the king declare 
his conviction that he owed the preservation of his 
life to the missionary's God." (Fiji and theFijians.) 

It is not possible to give here even a sketch of the 
Christian history of Ono up to the time when, after 
much suffering and persecution, the truth prevailed, 
and the whole population forsook heathenism. The 
deeply interesting record is to be found in the book 
from which the above extract is taken. As to Tovo, 
her difficulties and danger were by no means at an 
end ; but at last the king retired from his claim and 
left her in peace. 

Calvert was still in poor health ; and his letters at 
this period sometimes show him in a dejected mood, 
at least in regard of his own spiritual life. Thus he 
writes to Hunt : " All my life, both as it regards my 
spirit and motives and designs, is very far off ' the 



74 JANES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

exceeding broad command ' of trod. I abhor myself. 
And yet I do not awake from my slumbers. I need 
something to rouse me, and lead me afresh to the 
God of mercy, through the all-efficacious blood of 
the Saviour. I feel that I love the Lord Jehovah, 
Jesus the Saviour, and the Holy Ghost, the Lord 
and Giver of Life. I sometimes desire to seek a 
' full Divine conformity to all the Saviour's blessed 
will.' But how short and faint my desires and 
pursuit of the perfect love of God to fill and rule my 
heart ! Pray for me. Pity me. Love me. Lest I 
should be ill again to-day, I must conclude." 

About two months after this was written, the 
missionary ship Triton made her first voyage to Fiji, 
bringing the Kev. John Waterhouse, the Genera] 
Superintendent of the Australian and Polynesian 
Missions. It is impossible to tell how important 
and how welcome this event was to the young couple 
at the lone mission-house at Lakemba, whose joy 
was completed when the Kev. Thomas Williams, 
who had come with Mr. Waterhouse, was left as 
Mr. Calvert's colleague. 

Already there were evidences that the faith of the 
people in their gods was being shaken. Thus, one 
day, turtles were being dragged to the temple for 
sacrifice. The missionaries went to watch the 
ceremony. Their presence very much disconcerted 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 75 

the king, who, instead of entering the temple, 
passed by, telling the people they were to present 
the offering. They sat, however, silent in the 
temple, when a message was brought from the king to 
the same effect. Presently he returned, but, finding 
that the offering had not been made, sat outside on 
the steps. At last one man went and presented 
food with the customary prayers, while the king left 
without having entered the temple. Such a thing 
had never happened before. 

The relief afforded by having a companion in the 
toils and anxieties of the work was unspeakable ; and, 
early in 1841, we find Calvert writing to England : 
" I am very well, and am getting quite stout. For 
my improved state of health we are very thankful, 
as we began to be somewhat fearful that I should not 
be able to stand this climate." 

During this year, Mr. Waterhouse visited Ono in 
the Triton, and Mr. Calvert accompanied him. 
They were greatly cheered by the progress which 
had been made. The opposition of the heathen 
party had been very violent, and had brought about 
something like a state of war. But the strife had 
come to an end, and the hostile minority had by 
degrees joined with the people whom they had 
persecuted, so that on the arrival of the missionaries 
there was a large number of candidates for baptism. 
Thus " all the people, except those women whose 



76 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

husbands were from home, abandoned heathenism." 
Among those who received baptism was a priest. 
In August the following incidents are recorded : 

" A priest lately invoked the god at Mothe, on the 
presentation of first-fruits of arrowroot. Holding up 
a bunch of cocoa-nuts, he said, 'If the nuts fall 
from the bunch, we shall have plenty of food. If 
not, the bread-fruit will not bear, and we shall have 
a famine.' The nuts remained on the bunch. He 
shook in vain. It being a bad report, he feared the 
people, and complained that they had brought a 
bunch of nuts which were firm. The people were 
displeased ; and some heathen Tongans said that he 
was a false man. 

" On preparing arrowroot, according to the Fijian 
custom, to be offered to the gods at Oneata, the 
heathens now first divided it, and sent a portion to 
the Christians, and then took the remainder to the 
heathen temple. The priest, who had been accus- 
tomed to shout aloud when he pretended that the 
god entered into him, merely coughed, and his 
mouth being used, he affirmed, by the god said : 
' It will be well for you all to become Christians ; I 
will go to my own land.' This priest is a very quick 
and strong fellow. He has been much in earnest in 
heathenism. I have lately had two conversations 
with him, when I besought him not to deceive the 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 77 

people, and warned him to flee from the wrath to 
come. He did not appear to regard much what I 
said. We have his grand-daughter living on the 
mission premises. She is a very nice girl, and evi- 
dently attached to the lotu."* 

" September SQth. I have this day attended and 
administered medicine to a wife of the third chief 
in rank. She is seriously ill. About two hours after 
I left her, I was surprised to hear the report of a 
gun, which led me to believe that the priest had 
been invoking the god of the chief, and that a gun 
was fired, according to custom, on the god's depar- 
ture, at his bidding, though the king says this is a 
lie of the priest. I felt concerned about the woman, 
and also about the result of my medicine, and had 
therefore despatched a messenger to inquire about 
the state of my patient. My messenger arrived just 
after the invocation, while the priest was yet de- 
livering his message from the god, the late father of 
the chief. He said, ' It is good your living in the 
world.' The chief, presenting a whale's tooth, re- 
plied, ' Your coming to us is good. Thava, my 
wife, a lady from Lomaloma, is very ill. If we were 
to die here it would be right. But we should be 

* Lotu is the Fijian word for religion ; and very early in 
the history of the Mission was used distinctively for the 
Christian religion. When a person quitted heathenism to 
put himself under Christian instruction he was said to lotu. 



78 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

greatly ashamed if she were to die in this land. We 
therefore beg you to be of a good mind, and save 
her.' The lying lips of the priest, as the mouth 
of the god, answered, ' True, I am vexed. There 
are many things in which I am neglected in your 
house. Many of your observances are done away 
with. I therefore offered a whale's tooth to Tui 
Vakanoa and Tui Lakemba [two other local deities], 
that Thava might die. We are living separate in 
the place of spirits. The foreign God is near to you. 
You want to embrace Christianity. We shall keep 
separate. I shall try to save Thava ; but you must 
recollect that I am not a god.* I am a man like 
you. I once lived with you. I speak in this way 
only because I have had a different dwelling for 
some time. Yet I will make an offering to Tui 
Vakanoa and Tui Lakemba to save Thava.' A 
bunch of cocoa-nuts was then brought to be shaken, 
the priest saying that if all fell she would live. In 
vain he tried to shake them off. One fatal nut 
remained. After the ceremony was over, an old 
man, belonging to another tribe of priests, filliped 
the remaining nut, and said, ' There are plenty of 
nice bota (ripe nuts, which fall readily) in Lakemba, 



* Besides gods of supreme rank, the Fijians worshipped 
a lower order who were mortals deified after death. The 
reference above is to the latter class. 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 79 

yet they have brought these young nuts.' The man 
who had gathered them said, ' We were tired in 
climbing nut trees for a bunch of old nuts, but could 
not find one.' The following morning I called on 
the woman, and found that the medicine had been 
useful to her. I had some conversation with the 
chief and the priest. They both appeared to be 
ashamed. This is the only priest in the principal 
settlement, and there are several settlements without 
a priest. On the rebuilding of the heathen temple 
no property was presented, as is usual." 

Thus, in many ways, there came signs of a great 
change. Ancient customs, growing out of the old 
heathen faith, were falling into disuse. A priest on 
the island of Mothe, forty miles from Lakemba, 
had lately said, when professing to be possessed by 
his god, that a new king meaning the Christians' 
God was established in these days, and that the 
gods had fled from Ono and Oneata ; and the gods 
of Mothe would join them at Lakemba, and go in 
company to search for fresh lands to the leeward. 
Cannibalism had disappeared from Lakemba, so 
that the missionaries now on that one island had 
never witnessed its horrors, although it had been 
practised quite recently on a large scale close to the 
mission-house at Somosomo, and was still common 
in other parts of the group. 



80 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

In a letter to England, Calvert wrote : 

" I need not tell you that as heathenism gives 
way Christianity advances. Neither need I say that 
it is Christianity alone which has exposed their 
refuges of lies. The cause of truth is prospering 
greatly in Fiji, not as shown by many pardoned and 
renewed Fijians though we are thankful to know 
that there is a goodly number who are accepted in 
the Beloved but by putting heathenism in dis- 
repute, and by gaining approval for itself. 

" I am well in health, and much stronger than I 
have been for some years. I feel that the Lord is 
my portion, and that I am His. I desire to love 
Him with all my heart, and to serve Him fully with 
a perfect heart and a willing mind. I mourn over 
my unfaithfulness to God, and littleness of love. 
May He quicken me according to His word. My 
dear wife enjoys excellent health and spirits. She 
is happy in her God and in her work. She has 
taught a few to sew, and meets a class." 

In the same letter he gossips pleasantly about 
some experiences of Fijian travel, which must have 
been anything but pleasant at the time. 

" Before we reached the place [in the night] rain 
poured upon us, so that we could not proceed. I 
was exceedingly wet, and, not having change of 
raiment, I had to dry my clothes by a poor fire 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 81 

before I could rest. My pillow was a piece of native 
cloth. I lay on a rough mat, and covered myself 
with a finer one. When I was nearly asleep a land 
crab laid hold of my toe. I was then obliged to get 
upon my finer and larger mat, but could not sleep 
for cold. I then covered myself with the native 
cloth, and tried an old cocoa-nut for a pillow ; but it 
did not fit my head. I then tried another, but it was 
alike uneven. So I put my head on part of the 
firewood which we had to warm us. It, also, was too 
hard. At last I laid my head on the ground, and 
was blessed with refreshing sleep." 

During this year another child a son was born 
at the mission-house. A great event also took place 
in another visit from the General Superintendent, 
accompanied by Messrs. Jaggar, Lyth, and Hunt, to 
hold an adjourned District Meeting at Lakemba. 
This intercourse with the brethren, and especially 
with his much-loved friend, Hunt, was as a festival to 
Calvert, and helped him greatly in his work. He 
was frequently busy for the press, as the demand 
for books, especially first reading books and cate- 
chisms, was fast increasing ; and the publication of 
portions of the New Testament was being pushed 
forward as fast as much anxious correspondence 
about the translation would allow. Then the number 
increased of islands into which Christianity had 

6 



82 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

been introduced, and the visitation of a missionary 
became urgently needed. In the voyaging which 
this visitation involved Mr. Calvert took a full 
share. In the April of 1842 he went to Oneata, 
where the people were just finishing the building of 
a large chapel. He tells the story of his visit there : 

" April 21th. In the afternoon I preached from 
Acts x. 33. The people were very attentive. Their 
singing is very bad, but I cannot help them, as I 
know only one tune." 

" 28th. I met the men and boys in the school 
in the morning, and the women in the after- 
noon. I was delighted to hear some young women 
read, and to mark their diligence in instructing 
those who are beginning to learn. After the school 
I met a female class. Their experience is not very 
clear or deep ; but they seem to be in earnest and 
single-hearted. A canoe has gone to Lakemba to 
bring an Oneata chief to the opening of the chapel. 
I wrote to my dear wife, desiring her to come with 
the old chief, that she might see the chapel, and 
teach the people to sing." 

" 29th. Busy to-day in directing the people 
to make the floor and ground in front of the 
chapel even, and to fetch sand and grass, and 
floor the building. They stitched one narrow mat 
down the middle of the chapel, which gives a neat 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 83 

appearance to the floor, and serves as a division for 
the sexes. The canoe from Lakemba was in sight 
to-day. She had to put into an uninhabited island 
for the night, the wind being contrary. Mrs. Calvert 
and the children slept on the beach, as there was no 
house on the island. I called upon a priest, who 
still continues a heathen. He says that he is 
very badly off for a dress, but that he shall lotu 
before long. He sold me one of the conch shells 
which are blown when he invokes his god, in ex- 
change for a first reading-book, so that he may have 
a book ready when he abandons heathenism." 

" 30th. The people very busy in preparing 
food for the opening of the chapel. Several pigs 
were cooked, which, with ripe bananas, yams, sugar- 
cane, and nuts, were piled in front of the chapel 
about noon, and divided among the people ; one 
large heap of food, with a pig, being given to the 
people who brought me here. A similar heap was 
left for the old chief, whose canoe was expected. 
Seventy yams, a large pig uncooked, sugar-cane, 
bananas, and nuts were given to me as my share ! 
About four o'clock the canoe arrived, bringing Takai, 
the old chief, and Mrs. Calvert and the two children. 
A large piece of iron was beaten to call the people 
together. They all assembled, and we entered the 
beautiful new chapel, which is dedicated to the true 
God. I preached from Acts xii. 24. After the service 



84 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

I married twelve couples. The chapel was comfort- 
ably filled. I was opposed to its being so large (fifty- 
eight feet long by twenty-six feet wide). However, 
during the building of it, their number has been more 
than doubled, by which increase they have been 
assisted in the latter part of the building, and now 
the chapel is just the size that it ought to be. It 
was pleasing to see the people assemble in clean 
and finely figured native cloth, beaten and printed 
for the occasion. One piece was superior to any 
native cloth that I have seen. My heart was deeply 
affected by seeing so many who have given up their 
false gods, and are seeking the true Grod. The word 
of Grod still grows and multiplies. How powerful, 
how certain an instrument ! The Lord will ever 
confirm His truth with signs following. ' The glory 
of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see 
it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath 
spoken it.'" 

" Swiday, May 1st. At sunrise we met at the 
prayer-meeting. In the forenoon I read the Ten 
Commandments, and preached from Genesis xxxix. 2. 
In the afternoon I preached from Luke xxiv. 46, 47. 
It was a good day to our souls. I married thirteen 
couples, and baptised five adults and five children." 

" 2nd. I attended the schools, visited the people, 
and met the teachers to-day. In the afternoon we 
held a prayer-meeting, at which I gave an address on 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 85 

prayer, directing them to have partitions in their 
houses, so that they might retire for prayer and 
reading." 

" 3rd. In the morning I met the men, and 
in the afternoon the women, and divided them into 
classes. Mrs. Calvert has been fully employed in 
teaching the people to sing, but they do not learn 
the art readily. They are too much like me, I fear, 
have not got an ear for music. Mrs. Calvert has 
just taught a young man from Tonga I suppose not 
less than twenty tunes in a few weeks." 

" 4:th. We sailed to Lakemba." 

Three weeks afterwards there took place an in- 
cident which is thus related in Fiji and the 
Fijians (p. 310). 

" Tangithi, the daughter of the king, was very ill, 
and seemed likely to die. She wished to be visited 
by the missionary, who found her much worse, 
being speechless, and apparently insensible. The 
medicine he gave soon produced a favourable change; 
but next day she refused to continue under Mr. 
Calvert's treatment, as a priest had arrived during 
the night from a distance, and, through him, the 
god had declared that the illness of the princess was 
in consequence of the ruinous state of the temples. 
The king, being very fond of his daughter, was 
anxious to appease the anger of the gods, and 



86 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

ordered large offerings of food to be prepared by all 
the towns on the island. Toki, and the other 
enemies of the Lotu, tried very hard to get this 
order imposed on the Christians as well as the rest ; 
but the king refused, saying that what the Christians 
did in the matter would be useless, as they wor- 
shipped another God. On being pressed, he added, 
' They shall not be asked to help. And if they 
were, do you think they would do anything in this 
matter, seeing that such work is unlawful to them ? ' 
On this occasion, as on all others, care was taken by 
the missionaries that, while the Christians stood 
firmly to their principles, it should be done with as 
little offence as possible ; so that they brought un- 
bidden a supply of uncooked food as a present to 
the king, who seemed pleased and satisfied. All 
the heathens on the island joined in preparing the 
offering for Tangithi's recovery. Many thousands 
of taro-roots were baked and presented, with nine- 
teen large puddings, made of the same material, 
ground on the rough bark of the pandanus, and then 
baked in leaves in portions about half the size of a 
penny roll, to be afterwards all mixed together with 
cocoa-nut and boiled sugar-cane juice, the whole mass 
being neatly cased in a great number of banana 
leaves. The largest pudding was twenty-one feet, 
and the next nineteen feet in circumference. 

" All these preparations occupied much time ; and 



LAKSMBA AND ONO. 87 

before everything was ready Tangithi got worse, and 
again Mr. Calvert was sent for. He found her 
removed to the house of a late brother of the king, 
who was now deified, and said to be specially present 
in his own house. The missionary, knowing that 
the priest was there about his incantations, and that 
large offerings had been prepared, deemed this a 
good opportunity for teaching. The king was much 
excited, and said, ' The illness of my daughter is 
very great ! ' 'Yes,' said the missionary, 'I know it; 
and you are to be blamed for following useless 
heathen worship instead of continuing the use of 
medicine which proved beneficial.' He further 
added that he was unwilling to treat the patient 
while the heathen observances were going on, and 
the priest was rubbing her body ; lest on his own 
treatment succeeding, it should be said that the 
recovery was the result of the incantations and 
offerings, and thus the people should become con- 
firmed in their errors. After a long talk, and a 
lecture to the priest on his absurd deceptions, Mr. 
Calvert at last consented to undertake the case. He 
administered a stimulant, which revived her from 
stupor, making her throw about her arms restlessly. 
This frightened the king, who thought she was 
dying, and cried out angrily, ' You have killed my 
daughter ! ' The missionary was in no enviable 
position. The attendants and people all round were 



88 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

very savage at his interference with the priest, and 
only wanted a word to lead them to revenge. It 
was late at night, and the mission-house was far off. 
The place was full of enraged heathens, in the midst 
of whom stood the stranger accused by the king of 
murdering his favourite child. Nothing, however, 
was to be gained by showing fear, so Mr. Calvert 
snatched up his bottles, showing great indignation 
at such a charge, after he had come at their earnest 
request though served so badly by them before 
and had given some of the medicine which had been 
sent all the way from England for his own family. 
Then, assuming a look of being greatly affronted, he 
hurried away, glad enough to get safe home, where 
he bolted all the doors, and kept an anxious look-out 
next morning, until news arrived that Tangithi was 
alive and somewhat better. During the morning a 
message came from the king, begging for medicine 
for another of his children, who was ill with dysen- 
tery. Mr. Calvert sent word, ' Give my respects to 
the king, and tell him that I do not wish to send 
any more medicine for his children, having killed 
his daughter last night ; and it is not lawful for a 
missionary to kill two children of a king in so short 
a time.' An apology soon came, and an entreaty 
for forgiveness for words hastily spoken ; but the 
medicine was not sent until another urgent request 
was brought. 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 89 

" For four weeks the priests tried all their incanta- 
tions and sacrifices ; but the sick girl got no better, 
so that at last the father's heart relented, and he 
gave his consent that she should renounce heathen- 
ism, and be removed, with her attendants, to the 
mission-house. This was accordingly done ; and the 
missionary's wife could never forget the toil and 
inconvenience and annoyance of having so many 
Fijian women in her house. The care, however, 
was cheerfully borne ; and in a short time the 
patient improved. Now that she had lost all trust 
in the heathen remedies, she was perfectly sub- 
missive to the directions of the missionary, and 
soon recovered." 

Tangithi became a genuine convert and a con- 
sistent and useful member of the Church. Her 
further history, which was very sad, may be found 
in the book from which the above narrative is 
taken. 

During August of this year, 1842, the missionaries 
met for conference in their District Meeting. The 
Triton called at Lakemba, and took Calvert and 
Williams to Somosomo, where the former preached, 
and was much struck with the difference between 
the people and the Lakembans. The king had been 
ill, and announced his intention to become Christian 
when he recovered. Eewa and Viwa were also 



90 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

visited. The tour occupied about three weeks, and 
was, in all respects, a very good and useful interval. 

On October 16th Mr. Calvert writes: "Preached 
thrice in Fijian, and once in the Tongan language 
to-day. In the afternoon I was much delighted in 
listening to one of our members at Wathiwathi. He 
told me that Sefanaia Lualala had talked much to 
the people of Wathiwathi and Tarakua, urging them, 
with tears, to abandon heathenism, and embrace the 
truth." 

This man was a Tongan of very high rank and 
of great influence at Lakemba, his mother being the 
king's sister. He had been active in promoting war 
in Tonga, with the avowed object of opposing Chris- 
tianity, and was guilty of treachery and cruel blood- 
shed. He left the Friendly Islands, and his coming 
to Fiji was accepted as a signal of war against the 
Christians. But he found them so numerous and so 
united that his violence was checked, though he lost 
no opportunity of petty persecution. For some time 
past he had abandoned his opposition, and gradually 
yielded to the truth. Then came his baptism 
followed by very marked evidence that his acceptance 
of the Gospel was more than a mere form ; and he 
became an earnest advocate of the religion which he 
had formerly persecuted, and went from place to place 
and island to island, entreating the people to accept 
Christ. 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 91 

In the latter part of this year a very interesting 
and important event happened in the coming of 
the Tongan king, with a fleet of canoes, on a visit to 
Lakemba. King George Tubou, who, at the age 
of ninety-eight, has just died, maintained, through- 
out his long life, a high Christian character, and 
was for many years an earnest and successful 
preacher of the Gospel. He now came to Fiji to 
use his influence in the settlement of very grave 
complications which had arisen there, and were 
threatening to cause war. Mr. Calvert heard him 
preach several times during his visit, and speaks of 
being " greatly pleased and profited " thereby. 

In January, 1843, Mr. Calvert had an awkward 
accident. He set out in a double canoe, with Mrs. 
Calvert and the children, and Mrs. Williams, to go 
to the opening of a new chapel at Waitambu. In 
helping to work the canoe he fell into the sea, but 
soon got on board again. He then waded to land, 
and walked some distance on the beach to get dry. 
Afterwards, on wading out again to the canoe, he 
saw a large shark pass between him and the shore, 
and was thankful enough that it did not turn in his 
direction. 

On February 21st there was a severe shock of an 
earthquake in the night. Next morning Mr. Calvert 
hastened to the king's house, hoping to turn the 
alarm to good account. The king told him that 



92 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

some of them were drinking yanggona the native 
grog together when the trembling of the earth 
came. They remembered nothing like it. He then 
went on to relate their traditions of a great flood, 
and of an attempt to build a house to reach the sky. 
He also gave the pedigree and history of their chief 
local god, Tui Lakemba, and finished by saying, 
"But since you came he has not been seen. He 
has no priest. He has hidden himself, or is lost, or, 
perhaps, is ;dead. Or, probably, he knows that you, 
the true priest of the true Grod, have come to the 
land. Do you pray for us that we die not. We 
have no other priests, so do you influence God on 
our behalf." 

In April, Daniel, a teacher, came to Lakemba, 
bringing very cheering reports of the work at Loma- 
loma, where he had been put in charge. He told 
how, some time before, a canoe of a priest sailed in 
company with several canoes belonging to Christians. 
The priest's canoe was disabled, and he and his crew 
floated to land on the outrigger. The Christians 
went after the derelict canoe, and found it still afloat 
with all the property on board. They dried the 
mats, and then, at the instigation of the teacher, 
restored all the property to the priest. He refused 
to take it, as the transaction was a violation of 
Fijian law, which made all such things the property 
of the sailors. Two heathens, who had got three 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 93 

mats and a mosquito curtain each from the wreck, 
refused to give them up. The priest, compelled to 
take back his own, was deeply impressed by this new 
morality, and returned to his own land carrying a 
good report of the Lotu. Afterwards news came 
that he had actually begun to wear dress, and to 
profess Christianity, saying, "Where else can I 
go ? I have no god with me. Since the arrival of 
the Christian religion I have not known any god." 

" The teacher reports that heathenism is tottering 
in Lomaloma, where there are many more people 
than in Lakemba. The priests seldom profess now 
to be visited and inspired by their gods. Lately, 
however, many pigs and much food were cooked for 
the gods. The priests assembled, and sat in order, 
and were supposed to be near shaking ; for they shake 
their bodies terribly, and violently excite themselves 
under the influence of the god. But before they 
began the teacher made his appearance. They 
stared at one another, while the people laughed and 
looked at Daniel. The priests and people were 
ashamed. At last one priest broke the silence, pro- 
fessing to be inspired by a god. He urged the other 
gods to speak, and to promise to be still with the 
people. Growing tired of pleading without success, 
he departed. One pig, with other food, was given to 
the teacher. Daniel is a famous fellow, good-tern- 



94 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

pered, and very kind. The people love and respect 
him." 

Just at this time there came to Calvert a great 
surprise. His colleagues in the mission acknow- 
ledged what he himself had certainly not discovered 
that his command of the language so far excelled 
their own that they submitted to him their transla- 
tions for his criticism and revision. There were 
amongst them men of education and scholarship to 
which he could lay no claim ; and in a family letter 
he refers to their opinion of his proficiency with an 
amusing perplexity of astonishment, but with very 
evident satisfaction. He knew well the limitations 
of his own powers and culture ; and this recognised 
success certainly came to him as a great encourage- 
ment. 

In July he went to Somosomo in the Triton, to 
attend the District Meeting, and remained there 
while the vessel went to fetch the other missionaries. 
One reason for his staying there was, that he had 
been suffering from dysentery for two months, and 
wished to be under the care of Mr. Lyth, who had 
received a medical training. He found that the 
drugs he had been diligently taking had lost their 
virtue. He was now supplied with new, and soon 
got better. 

Just as he reached Somosomo thirty canoes arrived 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 95 

on their return from a victorious attack upon enemies 
on the mainland of Vanua Levu. They had killed 
fourteen persons, one of whom had been eaten on the 
spot ; the rest were brought to Somosomo. Calvert 
writes : 

" We walked into the town, and saw them cooking 
human beings with perfect unconcern. One was 
tied up by the foot, for convenience, I suppose, in 
cutting up. I saw pieces of human flesh and bones 
cut and cooked and scraped in all directions. 
The people were dancing, and drumming, and shout- 
ing all night. On the next day, we saw the men who 
had killed their enemies in the fight, dressed with 
new cloth, painted red, and each provided with a 
club. They are not allowed to sleep in a house for 
several nights. They walk about with their clubs 
on their shoulders, which on other occasions is not 
allowed." 

At this District Meeting it was decided that 
Mr. Williams must be removed to another part of 
Fiji, as the number of missionaries had become 
seriously reduced ; and thus Mr. Calvert was once 
more left alone at Lakemba. He was convalescent, 
but not yet strong. Writing to the missionaries at 
the other side of the group, he says : 

" First of all, and as the best thing you can do for 
me, I beg your hearty, and constant, and believing, 



96 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

and effectual, and fervent prayers. I think you may 
pray for my restoration and prolonged life ; but pray, 
oh pray, for grace to suffer, and a full preparedness 
for eternal joy ! I feel happy in the love of God, 
but I desire and greatly need the fulness of God's 
saving grace. 

" Next, I beg your sympathy. I am nervous. Be 
gentle with me. If Brother Hunt, after Mrs. Hunt's 
complete restoration, should be able easily to visit 
me during the year, I shall be exceedingly thankful. 
Or if Brother Lyth could undertake such a voyage in 
a few months, when Somosomo may be in a more 
settled state, he would be of great service to me, 
should I be spared to see him. 

" However, Brethren, be not anxious. Help me 
not to be anxious. The will of the Lord be done. 
In what work or place should I wish to die ? If my 
dust is to be left in Fiji, and my soul go to rest from 
Fiji, what place and work so fitting as where I am ? " 

He afterwards had a return of the disorder, and 
Mr. Lyth came over from Somosomo, and remained a 
week with him, after which he got better, so that, 
before the year closed, he could record in his journal : 
" I have recovered, through God's mercy and blessing, 
from eight months' dysentery." 

The following extracts from Mr. Calvert's journal 
for the early part of 1844 represent some phases of 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 97 

the mission work of great interest, showing both its 
progress, and its difficulties and discouragements. 

"February 8th.- We sailed with a strong wind 
to Tuvutha, where all the natives are professedly 
Christian." 

"llth. I preached twice, and exercised the 
people in the First Catechism. They had made 
some progress in the verbal knowledge of it. I also 
tried them with the Ten Commandments, which 
they nearly know. I met the Society in class. 
Their experience is exceedingly superficial, but 
they hate their former belief and practices. After 
service in the morning, the chief who accompanied 
me desired Zephaniah to come to him. This man 
was formerly priest of a god, Tui Vakanoa, equally 
celebrated at Lakemba and other islands, and much 
resorted to to procure fair winds. ' Tell me,' said the 
chief, 'is the worship that you and I have long 
adhered to true or false?' He replied, 'It is not 
right for me, sir, to hide from you the truth. Our 
worship is altogether false, sir.' ' Well, but 
admitting that you were false on some occasions 
when you invoked your god, let me ask you, were 
you not sometimes inspired by your god when you 
made reports to us ? ' ' If, sir, something besides 
myself had spoken, then our worship would have 
been true ; but I alone spoke.' ' And there was no 

7 



98 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

god with you ? ' ' Not any, sir ; but I alone spoke.' 
' Then the words which you affirmed were the words 
of Tui Vakanoa were only your own thoughts, which 
were sometimes false, and sometimes true.' ' I 
was called a priest, sir. Food, firewood, and property 
were presented to me. I was ashamed to refuse to 
invoke the god. I therefore thought what I should 
say, which sometimes happened according to my 
thoughts, but more frequently otherwise.' ' What 
made your body shake ? ' 'I alone wished to make 
it shake.' The chief then said in good humour, 
' You are a bad fellow. You have mocked us often. 
Our backs have frequently bled with carrying to you 
firewood as an offering for a favourable wind, and 
you have only belied us. But the (rod you now 
worship we heathens do really fear. When we sail 
with Christians, we are not at all afraid of being 
lost. We are now sailing about with contrary winds, 
yet I have not the least fear. I wonder why many 
who profess Christianity are not afraid of Him.' " 

" 22nd. Having heard that an Englishman, who 
lately came to live on their island, had taken 
property to one of the king's brothers, begging 
him to take a young girl from Ongea by force for 
him, I waited on the chief this morning. He told 
me that the report was true; that the man had 
brought him a musket, and had promised him four 
kegs of powder for a young woman from his island, 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 99 



Ongea, and that he had engaged to take her and 
bring her to the Englishman. I begged him not to 
be tempted by property and promises, but to regard 
what was right. He desired me to be good-minded, 
and let him take the woman for the Englishman, 
that he might get his powder. I replied, ' It is 
true that the temptation is great, but do not let 
your covetousness have the mastery over you.' He 
said, ' We do as you say. But, in this case, an 
Englishman asks me so to act, and we therefore 
suppose it is right, and we want powder.' I said, 
' He is an idle Englishman, who acts inconsistently. 
People are not bought and sold like pigs in England. 
The girl is religious. She belongs to your island. 
Do you love your people, and do not degrade yourself 
and them by making her a slave.' At length he 
said, ' Well, let it be as you please. There is the 
musket. Will you take it to the mission premises, 
and send for the man to your house, and tell him 
that I shall not take the girl?' I said, 'If you 
wish me, I will do so.' I accordingly took the 
musket, and sent for the young man. He was 
much chagrined, and said that he supposed I should 
approve of what he had done, or he would not have 
done it. I said, ' How could you suppose that I should 
approve of your buying a woman as you would buy 
a pig a woman who is a professing Christian, and 
is already engaged to an Ongea man ? I know that 



100 JAMES CALVEET OF FIJI. 



this is the way in which you foreigners act in other 
parts of Fiji, but I hope that nothing of the kind 
will have effect here.' He spoke humbly, but his 
mortification was evident. I was much pleased 
with the part which the old heathen chief acted in 
this matter. Muskets and powder are greatly 
desired by them." 

This incident illustrates a very serious obstacle in 
the way of Christian missions an obstacle which 
afterwards, in Fiji, became more frequent, as the 
number of white residents increased. It also furnishes 
the true explanation of some very severe criticisms 
of missionaries and their work. The girl involved in 
the above transaction was afterwards married to the 
man to whom she had been engaged. 

The early white settlers in the group were men of, 
at least, very questionable character, and of more 
than questionable antecedents. They had been 
dropped there by passing vessels, or had come, 
people scarcely knew how, by the chances of the 
sea. They conformed to the habits of the people, 
to whom they made themselves useful in many 
ways, married native women, and fell into all the 
native vices. 

This year the District Meeting was held at Viwa, 
under the chairmanship of Hunt. It was a very 
good meeting, made all the happier by the arrival 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 101 

of two new missionaries. To Mr. Calvert it brought 
most welcome help by appointing Mr. Lyth to join 
him at Lakemba. 

Not very long afterwards the king's brother died. 
The missionaries met his principal wife, a fine, 
healthy woman, returning from bathing preparatory 
to being strangled. They went to the king, and 
implored him to set aside the horrible custom, and 
made presents by way of ransom. It was in vain. 
That night she was strangled. 

There is nothing of special importance to be told 
of Cal vert's life in 1845, except another visit to Ono 
in October, when he was witness to the wonderful 
work of God which had taken place in that island. 
He spent three days with them to his great joy and 
refreshment. He found that, on the Sunday after 
Whitsuntide, on Ndoi, a little island off the coast of 
Ono, the preacher, Nathan Thataki a good and 
faithful man hearing some of the people cry aloud 
as he preached, was overwhelmed, and sank down to 
the ground, unable to proceed. A message was sent 
to Ono, begging the teacher, Silas, to come at once. 
He came, and gathered the people together again 
for worship ; but their emotion was so great that he 
could not preach. They all betook themselves to 
prayer, and the Holy Spirit fell upon them in great 
power. Silas then got them to go across with him 
to Ono, where they joined the people in holding 



102 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

prayer meetings in the different chapels. Writing 
to Hunt about his visit, Calvert says : 

" The work of the Holy Spirit was in every town. 
Since that time great grace has rested upon them ; 
and I suppose that at least two hundred persons have 
obtained peace with God through believing. I met 
them several times, and heard the experience of many. 
Their testimonies were very explicit as to their re- 
generation and adoption. Silas, I think, was equally 
clear as to his being in the possession of full salva- 
tion. I gave the sacrament to nearly three hundred. 
On many occasions, while I was with them, I was 
almost overpowered. I found my stay to be a time of 
refreshing from the presence of the Lord. The turn- 
ing from Satan to God has been general. All ages, and 
all classes, have been equally blessed. One effect was, 
that many desired to preach, stating their willing- 
ness to go to the worst parts of Fiji. To my surprise 
I found that eighty-one persons had been allowed to 
preach. I feared lest I should damp the work, but 
could not feel free to continue so many as preachers. 
I put ten on trial as local preachers, brought five 
married men with me, whom we have disposed of in 
our circuit, and we have kept three single men for our 
branch of the Training Institution. ... I am filled 
with gratitude to Almighty God for this wonderful 
display of His power and love in saving so many 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 103 

Fijians for saving them so abundantly and mani- 
festly. I never saw any revival so clear and extensive. 
Praise the Lord ! 

" Some of the testimonies given by the new converts 

were very beautiful in their entire simplicity. One 

said, ' I love the Lord ; I know He loves me, not 

for anything in me, or anything I have done, but 

for Christ's sake alone. I trust in Christ, and am 

happy. I listen to God, that He may do with me 

as He pleases. I am thankful to have lived until 

the Lord's work has begun. I feel it in my heart. I 

hold Jesus ! I am happy ! My heart is full of love 

to God.' Another, ' I know that God has justified 

me through the sacred blood of Jesus. I know 

assuredly that I am reconciled to God. I know of 

the work of God in my soul. The sacred Spirit 

makes it clear to me. I wish to preach the Gospel, 

that others also may know Jesus.' Silas Faone, a 

Tongan, said, ' I possess a rejoicing heart ; I greatly 

rejoice. When in Tonga I had the love of God, but 

it was not complete. In Kewa I had it also. Now 

in Ono, my love is perfected. It is full. I wish 

only to live to God through Jesus.' " 

Early in 1846 glad news came of many conver- 
sions at the other side of the group where Hunt 
was stationed. To him Calvert writes : 

" What an omen for good ! Hundreds saved ! 



104 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

The two places distant. Neither knew of the other. 
In one the Lord saves by native instrumentality, in 
the other by the missionary. One the head of a 
circuit, the other the most distant branch. Bless 
God ! we are here where He works and saves saves 
Fijians, forgiving and changing even them, many 
and black as their crimes are, and deeply as their 
hearts are depraved. This one thing have I ardently 
desired. I have ardently desired to see it here ; but 
iny joy and gratitude overflow to see and hear that 
the Lord has saved natives by natives, and natives 
by you. I greatly glory." 

That which he so longed for came to pass soon 
afterwards. A very remarkable work began at a 
place called Wathiwathi during a service conducted 
by a native preacher ; and more than thirty persons 
declared that they had found peace with God through 
Jesus Christ. Mr. Calvert hastened to the place the 
next day. 

" August 27th. This forenoon I went to Wathi- 
wathi. I assembled the people, and preached, and 
held a prayer-meeting. The confusion was immense ; 
the work of the Lord very considerable. I dismissed 
the people, and then visited them in their own 
houses. I found that many could rejoice in the love 
of God, and others were desiring that unspeakable 
blessedness. I directed the local preachers to hold 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 105 



class-meetings, and visit the people at their homes, 
and then returned home. What a blessed thing to 
witness the powerful effects of the grace of God ! " 

" 28th. Last night, several members from two 
adjacent villages went to Wathiwathi, and were 
much affected in the several houses of those who 
had received good. 

" This morning the wife of Zephaniah Lualala, the 
chief of Wathiwathi, who is of very high rank in 
Lakemba, came to the king [of Lakemba] her father. 
On her arrival several persons were sitting with the 
king. She sat down by his side, and said, ' Sire, I 
have come to beg of you to abandon heathenism, 
and embrace Christianity. Heathenism is false and 
useless. Religion is good, and is a very great matter. 
I now know that religion is good. The Lord has 
wrought mightily in my soul. I now know the 
excellency of religion, and have therefore come to 
beseech you to turn from falsehood to truth.' She 
wept much. The king said, 'Have you only just 
now known that religion is good?' She replied, 
' I have known well about religion only a few days. 
The Lord has changed my heart. Had I known 
before I should have come to you. On finding the 
power, I felt great love to you, and have now come 
before you to beg you at once to decide.' He said, 
' You are right and true. Most of your own relations 
and friends are on your side. I shall wait a little 



106 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

longer and then decide. I build no temples. I do 
not attend to heathenism. There are only a few of 
us left.' " 

" 29th. The work of the Lord went on powerfully at 
Wathiwathi yesterday. In the afternoon one of the 
local preachers went to preach at Waitambu, a larger 
village, two miles from Wathiwathi. In the evening, 
a local preacher came to ask the Wathiwathi people 
to go with him to Waitambu. They held a long 
meeting, and the power of the Lord was present, 
wounding very deeply, and healing some. It is said 
that nearly the whole of the people of that village 
also were under powerful impressions. To-day the 
young men from Wathiwathi have appointed to hold 
a prayer-meeting at Tarukua, a small village a mile 
from us. We have also had some movement among 
the Tongans here. May the Lord abundantly save all 
the people in Fiji ! The pledge and foretaste are given. 
"Late this evening our boys returned from Tarukua. 
They report that the work of the Lord was powerful. 
Several were convinced of sin, and prayed earnestly 
for pardon. All who had continued heathen in that 
village, except one woman, have embraced Chris- 
tianity. Some of them were in great distress of 
soul. In this report I exceedingly rejoice. Generally, 
here, the people only formally renounce heathenism. 
In their formal connection with Christianity we 
rejoice, as it brings them to hear words whereby 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 107 



they may be saved. But we much desire them to 
turn under deep conviction of sin, earnestly seeking 
redemption in the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of 
sins. The morning of a brighter day, I trust, has 
arisen on Fiji." 

The work spread to several other places. Large 
numbers lotued that is, renounced heathenism 
and attended Christian worship and the schools. 
Amongst these were many who became really con- 
verted, and then, as Mr. Calvert says, were crying, 
"0 taste and see that the Lord is good!" Two 
came to him begging to be employed anywhere and 
in any way to do good. 

In October 1846, when the mission vessel called, 
the long-dreaded suffering of parting with the 
children began. It was impossible, on all grounds, 
for them to be well brought up in the Islands ; and 
now the eldest little boy was sent away to the care 
of relatives in England. The father says, "I left 
my dear boy on board. He wished to know if I 
should again go to him. I gave him to God, who, 
I trust, will be his Father." This was the sharpest 
trial he had yet endured, and his tender heart was 
greatly distressed. He declared that now, for the 
first time, he began to know something of sacrifice, to 
which the leaving of home and friends was as nothing. 

Extracts from a letter written to the little fellow 






108 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

some time afterwards, will serve to show how warm, 
and strong, and gentle was the father's love. 

"Very much-beloved boy, we often think about 
you, and talk about you, and pray for you ; and now 
I am going to talk to you. 

" Four months ago we got the letter sent from New 
Zealand to Fiji by an American ship. Mrs. "Wilson 
told us that you were thirty-five days in sailing from 
Fiji to New Zealand, and that you had very good 
weather all the way. She also informed us that you 
were a very good sailor, and that you were in good 
health, and that all the people loved you much and 
were very kind to you. All this good news pleased 
us very much ; but we were much more delighted to 
know that you feared God, and prayed to Him, and 
that you gave your first shilling to the missionary- 
box, ' because your father was a missionary.' Now 
we hope you will always have these little goods 
friends, and health, and food, and other temporal 
blessings ; but we desire much more that you may 
have great good too that you will fear, and love, 
and serve the Lord from your youth. ... I am very 
well now again. The Lord has restored me fully, 
and I shall be happy in my work here. As you are 
being taught in England, and as you are with my 
very dear friend and brother, your uncle, you are 
highly favoured. Your sisters are being brought up 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 109 

in heathen, man-eating Fiji, whilst you are being 
well instructed in England. Now, be very thankful 
to God, my dear boy. He directed your way, and 
caused you to be so privileged. And be sure that 
you pray to God frequently with your heart. . . . 
Now, mind this first of all, my boy. Get your soul 
saved, and give yourself, as your father and mother 
give you, to Almighty God. Give Him your heart 
now fully and for ever. Obey your uncle in every- 
thing, and love and obey those who teach you. Try 
to understand what you are taught. Do not follow 
others in bad words or deeds. Remember your 
father is a missionary, and that he has given you to 
God. I expect you will be a good boy, and earnestly 
beseech you to be diligent to learn as much as you 
can. Persevere; do not fear; be courageous; and 
what appears difficult will become easy. Whatever 
you see, try to understand it. Ask questions, and 
think; and the Lord will help you, and bless you 
very much if you pray heartily to Him." 

The beginning of 1847 found Calvert suffering 
another relapse of his old trouble; and evidently 
much enfeebled and depressed, he thus writes to 
Hunt : 

" I frequently suffer exceedingly in my mind for 
what appears to be idleness; but no sooner do I 



1JO JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

apply myself somewhat closely to study, or actively 
to bodily exertion, than I am upset one way or 
another. It really seems that I am incapable of 
doing much. Should my life be spared long which 
I hardly expect I am apprehensive that I shall 
continue the same unprofitable servant that I have 
hitherto been. I am, however, very thankful to my 
Lord that I have occupied a station where, I trust, 
my one talent has been needed and useful. I love 
my Saviour. I love His service. I love souls. I 
have a considerably increased desire to do good, and 
should rejoice to see the translation of the Bible 
completed, and all Fiji converted nominally, and 
thousands really, and to get better prepared for the 
solemn change, and strict and impartial judgment, 
and the holy place. However, I can be easily spared; 
and I humbly and heartily trust in the Almighty 
Saviour for present and eternal salvation. The Lord 
fully prepare me for all His righteous will." 

Some months later, in better health, he could 
write in a brighter strain. 

" It will afford you pleasure to hear that I enjoy 
uninterrupted health; and, what is far better, my 
soul is very substantially happy. The Lord blesses 
me with constant peace and joy through believing. 
I trust that I am progressing, and that I shall do so 
much more. I am under very powerful obligations 



LAKE MB A AND ONO. Ill 

to love and serve God much more heartily and fully 
than I have hitherto done. I have much delight in 
the work of the Lord." 

In January 1848 a great trouble came, in the 
serious illness of Mrs. Calvert, whose health until 
then had been almost uniformly good. She was 
attacked by violent inflammation. Her husband 
had added much to his slender medical knowledge 
by extensive practice among the natives; but he 
sorely felt the present exigency, while he resolutely 
set himself to carry out what was then held to be the 
right treatment bleeding her " very copiously four 
times," and applying large blisters. Again and 
again she seemed to be dying, and took farewell 
of her loved ones, and committed them to God's 
keeping. Mr. Calvert writes : " The Lord showed 
Himself strong to save ; the inflammation gradually 
became less, and she recovered." 

In the course of the year, the greatest sorrow that 
he had known fell upon him. In July he heard 
that Hunt was ill, and wrote to him : 

" My dear friend, love me ; love us in Fiji ; love 
Fiji, and spare yourself. I stand tremblingly in 
doubt of you. Why do you overset yourself, and 
almost break my heart ? I can labour and endure 
in the work ; but your doing more than God requires, 
and wasting your energies, oppresses me and unmans 



112 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

me. I charge you, before God and the Lord Jesus 
Christ, whose we are, and before whom we shall soon 
stand, to take care of your body as well as your soul." 

A closer, tenderer friendship never was than that 
which bound these two together. For some time 
past Calvert had been greatly troubled by hearing 
of the amount of work which Hunt was doing at and 
from Viwa. He had already completed the transla- 
tion of the New Testament, and had, without rest, 
thrown all his energy into the translation of the 
Old, which he hoped to complete in five or six years 
more. He was chairman of the whole district, and 
took the most active interest in the administration 
of all its affairs. He travelled a great deal, exposed 
to all sorts of weather in open canoes, and never 
spared himself when there was opportunity to teach 
and do good. Latterly he had been stimulated to 
fresh exertions by most remarkable success. Now 
the dreaded breakdown had come. 

In September the District Meeting assembled in 
Viwa; and thus the two, who were more than brothers 
to each other, were together, when one was called away. 

When the rumour spread that Hunt was likely to 
die there was a great consternation among the 
people. They came together into the chapel to 
pray for him. One after another pleaded with 
tears on his behalf; and Elijah Verani, their chief, 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 113 

cried out, " Lord, we know we are very bad, 
but spare Thy servant. If one must die, take me ! 
Take ten of us ! But spare Thy servant to preach 
Christ to the people ! " For a while the imminent 
danger seemed to be removed, and there was great 
thanksgiving. Katu David, a Christian Mbau chief, 
said, in prayer, " We were in trouble ; we feared that 
Thou wert about to take away the light, and leave 
us in darkness on account of our sins that Thou 
wert about to quench the light, and remove from us 
him who had taught us the Word of life. But we 
stayed Thy hands; we refused to let him go; and, for 
Christ's sake, Thou didst hear the prayer of sinners." 
After several quiet weeks there came a relapse, 
and with it much mental conflict. The very inten- 
sity of the dying missionary's zeal, and the wide 
reach of his soul's purpose, suggested to him the 
thought that his life had failed, had been, as he 
moaned, "worthless and unprofitable worse than 
useless." Then came into his troubled soul the 
recollection of the success which had been won, and, 
together with it, this word : " If I be not an apostle 
to others, yet doubtless I am to you ; for the seal of 
my apostleship are ye in the Lord " ; and so he had 
victory. He now had with him his faithful and 
much-loved friend Calvert. Few men ever knew 
each other's secret souls with a more trustful in- 
timacy than did these two. While one read the 

8 



114 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



Word and prayed, the dying man declared his rest 
and joy in the Lord. Then he wept, at first silently, 
afterwards with uncontrolled sobbing, until the 
passion of his heart broke forth in the prayer, 
"Lord, bless Fiji ! save Fiji ! Thou knowest my 
soul has loved Fiji ; my heart has travailed in pain 
for Fiji!" His friend said to him, "The Lord 
knows you love Fiji. We know it. The Fijian 
Christians know it, and the heathen of Fiji know 
it. You have laboured hard for Fiji when you 
were strong, now you are so weak you must be 
silent. God will save Fiji ; He is saving Fiji." 
Calmed for a time, he presently grasped Calvert 
with one hand, and, lifting the other, cried out, " Oh, 
let me pray once more for Fiji ! Lord, for Christ's 
sake, bless Fiji, save Fiji ! save Thy servants, save 
Thy people, save the heathen in Fiji ! " In the few 
days that were left he spoke only of trust and peace 
in Christ. When the last moments came, they 
heard him say, " Now He is my joy ! I thought I 
should have entered heaven singing, 'Jesus and 
salvation ! ' Now I shall enter singing, ' Jesus, 
salvation, and glory eternal glory ! ' ' Trying in 
vain to raise himself, he exclaimed, " Hallelujah ! 
Hallelujah ! " again and again, till his voice weakened 
into silence. Having sent messages to the mission- 
aries and their wives, to the native Christians, and the 
chiefs especially to Thakombau and having com- 



LAKEMBA AND ONO. 115 

mended his children, and, last of all, his devoted 
wife, to God's loving keeping, he asked Calvert to 
pray, and spoke no more. Presently he turned on 
his side, and took hold on his friend, who put his arms 
round him, and, as he held him, knew that the long, 
close, dear brotherhood on earth had come to an end. 

For a time Calvert seemed wholly stricken down 
by the blow. He had rested and had exulted in the 
love and the gifts of his friend, which supplied 
very conscious wants of his own nature ; and there 
is no doubt that in meeting the difficulties of the 
years spent at Lakemba, often in much suffering 
and weakness, and consequent depression, he was 
greatly helped by the strong, faithful counsels and 
Christian sympathy of Hunt's letters. 

But the growing claims of the mission left no time 
for inactive sorrow. There was more than ever now 
to be done by those who were left. Calvert's 
removal to Viwa had long been discussed, and now 
it was determined that it should take place forth- 
with. So urgent was the need of his immediate 
help on this side of the group, that he was retained 
at Viwa, and arrangements were made for the bringing 
of Mrs. Calvert and the children. 

After nearly ten years' life and work at Lakemba, 
Mr. Calvert thus writes : 

" I have lived in great peace in Lakemba, have 



116 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

been on friendly terms with all, and have been con- 
nected with a most extensive spread of Christianity 
in Lakemba and its dependencies. There by far the 
best part of my life has been spent. I feel heartily 
attached to the people and the place, and could 
gladly spend there the residue of my days, were I 
directed by God's all-wise providence to remain. 
Lakemba is to me more than all the world besides. 
Yet, where God commands and directs, I cheerfully 
go. I only desire to be where He appears, and do 
what He requires, for the few remaining days He 
may employ me. . . . While I have endeavoured 
to be faithful towards God and with men, I have to 
mourn over much unfaithfulness, but thankfully 
rejoice that the Lord has blessed me, and done all 
things well. Lakemba, I love thee! Farewell! 
From thee I cannot be separated ! My prayers, 
thoughts, efforts, shall still be towards thee. I hope 
many thence will be the crown of my rejoicing in 
the day of the Lord Jesus. I fear I shall be witness 
against many who perish after frequent and faithful 
warning. I laboured diligently, I trust, to do the 
people good, temporally and spiritually ; and God 
accompanied many of my efforts with His blessing. 
My five children born there are all alive. Praise the 
Lord for all His goodness ! Lord, bless abundantly 
and for ever Lakemba and all its dependencies ! " 



CHAPTER IV. 

VIWA. 



in 



How the Lord provided a Printer. Thakombau. War and its 
Horrors. Heroism of Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth. Signs 
of Success. A Great Grief. Mediation to procure Peace. 
Lakemba revisited. Death of Tanoa. Horrible Observances 
State Visit of TuiThakau. Hard Struggle with Cannibalism. 
Elijah Verani. Thakombau Lotus. A Great Joy. Narrow 
Escape at Moturiki. Another Visit to Lakemba. Great 
Value of Lyth's Training Work. Troublous Times. Media- 
tion Work. End of Cannibalism at Mbau. Visit of King 
George of Tonga. A Voyage with the King. Establishment 
of Peace, and Spread of Christianity. Leaving Fiji. Call at 
Rotumah. 



118 



CHAPTER IV. 

VIWA. 

station at which Mr. Calvert now settled 
was close to Mbau, the seat of the dominant 
power in Fiji. This town, where the supreme chief 
lived, stands upon an islet of the same name, barely 
a mile broad, close to the south-eastern point of 
Viti Levu Great Fiji an island ninety miles in 
length, and having, it was then reckoned, a population 
of fifty thousand. Mbau is almost joined to the 
mainland by a flat of coral, which, at low water, is 
nearly dry, and even at high water is fordable. Two 
miles to the north of this, somewhat further from the 
mainland, and, though a small island, yet much 
larger than Mbau, is Viwa. It was a place of great 
importance, ruled over by Namosimalua, a notable 
chief, something of whose career we have already 
related (p. 39). 

Calvert had now the welcome advantage of having 
Lyth as his colleague, whose medical skill gave him 
great fame among the natives, and earned for him 
the title of Matai ni mate, carpenter of illness. 

119 



120 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Amongst the many instances in the history of this 
mission, in which great emergencies were met by 
special providence of the Head of the Church, none 
was more remarkable than the supply, in the most 
unexpected way, of help in the publishing work. 
The press had been removed, nine years before, to 
this part of the group, and was now at Viwa. The 
missionary who had managed it had recently left ; 
and Calvert, on removing to Viwa, was much con- 
cerned about the business of this department, which 
had greatly increased. He felt certain that he 
could not undertake it and do justice to the rapidly 
growing claims of the general mission work. He 
was cheerfully willing to give it the oversight of his 
skilled knowledge, but he could not enter upon the 
labour of the printing and binding. Yet this was a 
matter of very pressing importance. The demand 
for Scriptures and other books was growing fast ; 
and, as yet, there was no one in the Colonies, or in 
England, with such a knowledge of the language as 
to make it possible to get the printing done there. 
Many years afterwards Mr. Calvert thus gave the 
history of the crisis, and how the help was wonder- 
fully provided : 

" When our printer failed in that far-off and out- 
of-the-way country, we were placed in great diffi- 
culty, as a new edition of the New Testament and 



VIWA. 121 

other books were urgently required. We ordered a 
man from London, who would rough it, be content 
with the poor fare and small pay and hard work we 
were accustomed to ; but such a man was not found. 
Then it came to pass that a French Count, an 
infidel, who was wrecked in Fiji from an American 
beche-de-mer vessel, was deeply awakened, and 
sought and found mercy and saving grace. He was 
completely reformed, and wished for employment 
with us. I taught him printing and bookbinding, 
which he quickly learnt ; and just then, when we 
were in deepest need, he became a most efficient 
labourer with us. He could make sails, splice a 
rope, pull an oar, sail a schooner, floor a house, put 
in windows, make a door, and fit it in. He became 
a teacher in our school, and a good local preacher. 
The people felt that he loved them, and would 
cheerfully and heartily do anything for their 
benefit; and the best of our converts from any 
part of Fiji were very ready to settle down and 
work for him ; so that we had a good staff of 
energetic and cheap workers in our printing and 
book-binding establishment. A new edition of the 
New Testament and all the books we required were 
well done, and quickly supplied, helping on the 
work amazingly. A whole-hearted and capable man 
like that was beyond all price. Had one been made 
to order, on purpose for our needs and work, he 



122 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



could not have been better adapted. And this 
event proved to us the all-sufficiency of God's re- 
sources; and just at the right and very best time 
the urgent demand was suitably supplied, and with- 
out any cost ! " 

The most interesting feature of Calvert's mission 
life at this period was in his relation to the great 
chief, Thakombau, who, though his father, the old 
Tanoa, was yet living, was the real ruler of Mbau 
and its wide dependencies. He was a man of great 
sagacity, and much strength of character. His 
attitude towards Christianity was avowedly hostile ; 
but there was good evidence that his sometimes 
angry opposition was really stimulated by his un- 
willing convictions that the new religion was right. 
In the meantime the old king remained apparently 
untouched by it. Already Calvert had had some 
intercourse with Thakombau, who, on one occasion, 
had spent several weeks in Lakemba. The mission- 
ary had long ago been much impressed by a little 
book, Suggestions for the Conversion of ttte World, 
by the late Rev. Robert Young, who shows how, if 
each Christian believer, by special prayer and effort, 
brought about the salvation of one person, the con- 
version of the whole world would soon be accom- 
plished. Thakombau was early singled out by Mr. 
Calvert as the subject of such prayer, and he begged 



VIWA. 123 

the Christians at Lakemba to join him in intercession 
on behalf of the powerful chief. Now he was brought 
into close and frequent contact with him; but at 
first his influence seemed to be endangered by a 
decisive step which he felt obliged to take. In the 
early days of the mission it had been thought wise 
to gain the favour of the people, and especially the 
chiefs, by a somewhat lavish distribution of gifts. 
Whether this policy was right or not at the time, 
it was fast growing into a vicious system, which 
threatened to mislead the people as to the great 
object of the mission. Immediately on his arrival 
at Viwa, Calvert explained the whole matter very 
plainly to Thakombau, and showed him why this 
way of doing things must come to an end. He 
finished by saying : 

"My one concern will be to lead you to obtain 
religion ; so you may expect, in all our intercourse, 
that I shall labour for this. Another and inferior 
matter I shall gladly attend to. I have brought 
medicines from England, and have gained some 
knowledge of diseases and their remedy, and shall 
have pleasure in relieving you of pain when I can, 
that your life may be prolonged for repentance, 
prayer, and the service of God. While this is the 
only object I have in view, I know that you are 
destitute of many articles which we have in England, 



124 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



and which would increase your comfort. Some of 
these I can obtain for you by writing to my friends 
in England. I shall be glad to do so, as I should 
like to see you improved and raised in temporal 
matters. Only, when I send for goods, I have to 
pay for them; and you must pay for whatever I 
obtain for you. We give our time and energies for 
your salvation, but we have not come to supply you 
with worldly riches. Yet, if you will pay for what 
you require, we will try to obtain useful articles for 
you." 

The chief had just received a handsome gift, 
presented by the missionary, according to custom, on 
his coming to live under his protection, and accepted 
the new order with fairly good grace. A great 
difficulty had thus been met, and a very important 
point secured. 

No opportunity was lost of talking faithfully to 
Thakombau, who also would come to Viwa, and 
sometimes spend hours at the mission-house, cleverly 
eliciting the Christian arguments which told specially 
against the old religion. These he would afterwards 
use in disputing with his own priests and chiefs, 
greatly enjoying their discomfiture. But, though 
he was evidently restrained in his opposition to the 
Lotu, he yielded in no other respect to its claims. 
His despotic power was very great and extending, 



VIWA. 125 

so that the amount of wealth which he amassed in 
the way of tribute was, perhaps, unprecedented. 
He saw clearly enough that the principles of 
Christianity would make impossible some of the 
policy and the means by which he extended his 
power and his possessions, and his interest silenced 
his conscience. 

In the town of Mbau Christian worship was pro- 
hibited ; but it was permitted at Sembi, a 'place 
near by on the mainland, where lived some of old 
Tanoa's wives, several of whom attended the services. 
At the same time, in the closing months of this 
year, wars and cruel acts of violence were frequent 
round about, and the cannibal ovens in Mbau were 
often alight. 

In the following year Calvert voyaged far, and saw 
much to encourage and much to dishearten him 
in his work. Close at home the darkness of war 
thickened, and many terrible scenes took place. A 
place called Tokea was taken treacherously by the 
Mbau people, and a hundred persons, chiefly women 
and children, were killed. 

" I have frequently visited Mbau, and had long 
conversations with the chief about religion. I have 
ardently urged him to stop the war which has so 
long raged, and in which, it is said, two thousand 
lives have been sacrificed. I have pressed him hard 



126 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

to spare the chief in the mountains. I have placed 
before him the scandal of killing so many of the 
young, and of women who have no concern in the 
war. Two of the bodies brought from Tokea were 
sent from Mbau to the few heathen living on this 
island [Viwa], to be eaten. The person who brought 
them left them on the beach, fastened to a stake 
in the sea by a vine. He reported secretly to the 
heathen. On being informed of this, and that the 
heathens had gone to fetch them for cooking, I 
called on Mr. Lyth, and we went in search of them. 
Not finding them, we returned. I went to a young 
Christian chief, and sent him for them. He floated 
them round the island, and brought them near to 
my house. I provided two mats, in which he and 
a man living with me wrapped them. A grave was 
dug, and they were buried. I do not hear that 
many were eaten, I think very few indeed. Many 
floated round Mbau, and drifted to different parts of 
the beach on the large land. Some drifted here." 

It was in July of this year, while the two mission- 
aries were away in another part of the group, that a 
great cannibal banquet was prepared at Mbau, four- 
teen women having been kidnapped for the purpose. 
Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth, in sacred heroism, set 
out in a canoe with a Christian chief, and landed 
amongst the people, who were wrought into savage 



VIWA. 127 

excitement by the loud beating of the great death- 
drum, and the firing of muskets, as well as by the 
prospect of the horrible feast. These two noble 
women, to his bewildered astonishment, confronted 
the old king himself, and pleaded for the lives of 
the victims. They had their reward in the rescue 
of five of the women. All the rest but two went to 
the ovens. 

About this time several British men-of-war visited 
Fiji ; and their commanders did excellent service to 
the mission by urging Thakombau, in very strong 
terms, to abandon cannibalism. It was known that 
an expedition was soon to come from Somosomo, 
bringing tribute. On these occasions it had always 
been the custom to entertain such powerful visitors 
with the most lavish hospitality, and especially with 
large numbers of human victims. At last the regent 
chief gave his word that this part of the feast should 
not be provided ; and the promise was kept. The 
preparation, in other respects, was on a magnificent 
scale. Calvert went across to Mbau to see the 
formal presentation of food to the visitors. There 
was a huge structure of basket work, more than thirty 
feet long, filled with food. He counted " nineteen 
cooked pigs on the top, with their snouts all pointing 
one way." A day or two before there had been 
presented one hundred and three pigs. It was a great 
thing to have secured that no cannibal provision 



128 JAMES CALVERT OF PUT. 

should be made by the supreme chief, although Mr. 
Calvert found that other chiefs had not followed 
his example. " I preached," he writes, " at Mbau ; 
and heard that several cooked bodies had been 
brought from Tui Levuka." 

The people of a certain town had rebelled against 
Mbau, but now fully submitted themselves. Mr. 
Calvert, knowing that, notwithstanding their sur- 
render, the severest reprisals were in preparation, 
went to Thakombau, and pleaded for their lives. 
The answer was : " Why, your own doctrine is, that 
the wages of sin is death. They have acted very 
wickedly in beginning war by murder when all was 
peace, and I wish them all to be killed, that we 
may be at rest. If they be spared, they will raise 
evil up again, as on two former occasions when we 
forgave them." It was an easy thing for the 
missionary to turn this adroit use of a Christian 
truth ; and, in the end, with great difficulty, he 
gained his point. 

That the influence of the truth was steadily in- 
creasing was shown in many ways, sometimes very 
strangely, as when the friends of a sick man, who 
came to the mission-house for medicine, seriously 
asked Mr. Calvert whether, in the event of the man's 
death, he thought they might strangle his wife. 
He naively remarks, " This is the first time I have 
been consulted on this point from Mbau." Terrible 



VIWA. 129 

atrocities were still committed ; yet it was felt to be 
a great advance when Tui Viti #s Thakombau was 
then called promised, in reply to Calvert's admoni- 
tions, that in the case of the death of common men 
the strangling of their widows should be done away 
with. Yet he added, " But in my father's case, ten 
will be strangled." 

Towards the close of this year a great sorrow fell 
upon Mr. Calvert and his devoted wife. They had 
already sent their eldest boy to relations in England, 
and had heard of his safe arrival and well-doing there. 
Later, when Mrs. Hunt was returning home after 
her husband's death, they entrusted to her their 
firstborn, their little Mary, now nearly ten years old. 
After her departure, more than a year and a half 
since, they had received no news from England. 
The coming of the Wesley was always an event of 
most exciting interest. Her arrival in 1850 was 
looked for with unusual eagerness by the hearts 
which hungered for tidings. Another missionary, 
too, was coming in the vessel. When, therefore, she 
came near, and before she could cast anchor, Mr. 
Calvert put off in a canoe to hasten on board. In 
his glad impatience he did not notice that the 
Wesley had her flag at half-mast ; but the poor 
mother on shore saw the death-signal, and was filled 
with sad forebodings. He climbed on deck, beam- 
ing forth joyful greetings, and then started, in 

9 



130 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

questioning surprise, at the looks of sorrow which met 
him. Little Mary was dead. Broken-hearted, the 
father went ashore, carrying to the stricken mission- 
house letters seven months old, telling them at the 
same time of their darling's coming, of her winning 
the love of those with whom she found her new 
home, of her sickness, and of her death. 

It was a terrible grief, but their life's great work 
must be done, and within a week of the Wesley's 
arrival the mourning father sailed in her on a long 
tour of visitation among the islands. 

This year also closed in the turmoil of frequent 
war. Now the scene of strife was on the other great 
island, Vanua Levu, and two of the missionaries, 
Moore and Williams, at Nandi and Mbua, were 
surrounded by it, and in great peril. Many of the 
people there were Christians ; and thus the quarrel 
already was taking -the form of a war against the 
lotu. If Thakombau did not actually instigate the 
war, he could arrest it whenever he chose ; so Calvert, 
accompanied by Elijah Verani, went to him to beg 
his interference for the protection of the missionaries. 

" The chief seemed to be in a good humour, but 
said very decisively that he would have nothing to do 
with it. He was reminded of his promise to Captain 
Erskine [of H.M.S. HavannaJi] to protect the 
missionaries ; but still he refused, saying, ' I shall 



VIWA, 131 

not protect them ; and I rejoice that you have now 
a fight of your own. When I ask you lotu people to 
help me in war, you say, " No ; it is not lawful for 
Christians to fight ! " And here are we breaking our 
backs steering our canoes, catching dysentery by 
sleeping abroad in the dews and rains, and being 
shot in great numbers, whilst the Christians sit 
quietly at home all the time. Now you have a fight 
of your own ; and I am glad of it ! Besides, I hate 
your Christianity ! ' 'I know,' replied the mission- 
ary, ' that you hate religion. I knew it before 
leaving England ; and have long known that, every- 
where, " the carnal mind is enmity against God ; for 
it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed 
can be " ; so that I should have been altogether 
surprised had I found you not hating religion.' 
With a sneer he said, ' Oh yes, of course you know 
everything. However, at any rate, I shall not stop 
the fight; and I rejoice that you lotu people are 
compelled to fight as well as I ; and I hate your 
Christianity.' ' Well,' said Mr. Calvert, ' seeing you 
do hate it, what are you going to do with it ? Do 
you intend to stop its progress ? ' ' No,' was the 
answer ; ' I cannot do that. I know that it is true, 
and the work of God, and that we shall all become 
Christian. But, in the meantime, I delight in you 
Christians being compelled to engage in war as well 
as I.' " 



132 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

On the first day of 1851, Mr. Calvert started in a 
large Tongan canoe for the seat of war, and after 
much difficulty reached Mbua. Things were in a 
most critical state, so that he despatched another 
urgent message to Tui Viti, calling upon him to 
interfere. At last Thakombau seemed to wake up 
to the greatness of the danger, and sent a chief with 
orders to stop the war. For some time he acted 
very capriciously, now favouring and now hindering 
the work of the mission. He and his aged father 
renewed their permission for a missionary to live at 
Mbau, promising to build the necessary premises on 
the mainland. Then again war set everything else 
aside. Great preparations were made, during which, 
for three days, Mr. Calvert stayed, and was very kindly 
treated, in Thakombau's own house. Large offerings 
were presented at the temples to secure success ; but 
the promises of the priests came to nothing, and the 
expedition failed. 

During this year the District Meeting was held 
at Lakemba, and Mr. Calvert had thus an oppor- 
tunity of revisiting his old circuit, and was greatly 
cheered and refreshed by seeing how the work had 
extended there. Tui Nayau, the King of Lakemba, 
for whose conversion Mr. Calvert had prayed earnestly, 
and worked hard, had at last lotued, and the last trace 
of opposition to Christianity on the part of the rulers 
in Lakemba came to an end. Two years afterwards, 



VIWA. 133 

" The chief priest of the god of Tumbou, and the 
last of the order in Lakemba, was received on trial 
for Church membership, having long been anxious 
about his soul. His daughter was already a class- 
leader, and one of his sons a zealous member. . . . 
The people were reformed outwardly, being decently 
clothed, and having relinquished their obscene mid- 
night dances and songs in favour of the pure worship 
of God. Their domestic condition was greatly im- 
proved by the lessening of polygamy. Christianity 
gave the Fijians what they never had truly before 
a home. Those who had known Lakemba and its 
dependencies twelve years ago marvelled at the 
almost universal change which had been brought 
about. Scarcely a temple was left standing, and 
the sacred terraced foundations on which they were 
once were now cultivated as garden plots. Club-law 
was utterly abolished. A fine chapel, to which the 
people eagerly flocked, graced every town, and not a 
heathen priest was left. About eight hundred chil- 
dren were assembled daily in the schools, and nearly 
two-thirds of the adult population were Church mem- 
bers, affording good evidence of their desire to ' flee 
from the wrath to come ' ; while a large and growing 
number gave every reason to believe that they were 
renewed by the Holy Ghost. During this and the 
previous year one thousand three hundred baptisms 
were registered, eight hundred adults, none of 



134 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

whom received this sacrament without having 
brought 'forth fruits meet for repentance,' and 
showed a sincere desire to trust on Christ for salva- 
tion. Everywhere, too, was found a great hunger 
for the Word of God. The mission press could 
supply but a small number of Testaments ; and the 
missionaries were pained in being obliged to refuse 
the people, who were willing to pay well of their 
property, or make any sacrifice, to obtain the Scrip- 
tures." (Fiji and the Fijians, p. 336.) 

In 1852 the long-expected event, greatly dreaded 
by the missionaries, took place. The old Mbau 
king, Tanoa, died. Mr. Calvert, who had gone to 
Ovalau two days before, thus tells, simply and 
briefly, the dreadful story. 

" Tanoa died on the morning of the 8th of 
December, 1852, when Tui Viti [Thakombau], in 
spite of light and conviction and entreaties from all 
quarters, wantonly murdered five women. Several 
captains of ships of war had laid particular injunc- 
tions on Tui Viti not to commit this murder. Mr. 
Watsford and I have continually been urging him to 
refrain. He was alarmed ; but has still done the deed. 

" Previous to rny going away we offered four large 
whales' teeth. Afterwards we made the number 
ten, weighing twenty pounds. I offered to have my 
finger cut off. 



VIWA. 135 

" The night before the king's death, Mr. Watsford 
stopped till near midnight urging and entreating. 
He offered our boat, twenty muskets, and all he 
possessed. A short time after the death Mr. 
Watsford arrived. Two were strangled. He ap- 
peared before the chief, who, with an awful look, 
trembling and excited, said, ' What about it, Mr. 
Watsford ? ' Mr. Watsford replied, ' Refrain, sir ; 
that is plenty ! Two are dead. Refrain ! I love 
them.' The chief said, ' We also love them. They 
are not many only five. But for you missionaries 
many more would have been strangled.' He pro- 
ceeded with his hellish work, and helped to murder 
the whole five, and then ran away through a back 
door. . . . We are very sorrowful, but have the 
comfort of knowing that our utmost efforts were 
made. We also are thankful that we were per- 
mitted to protest boldly, fully, fearlessly to the last 
against the murder." * 

This was a time of great gloom ; but it was not 
wholly dark. It was undeniably true that the 
horrible orgies of death at the king's house would 
have been far worse had it not been for the in- 
fluence of Christian teaching. Occasional acts of 
cannibalism still took place at Mbau ; but it was 

* Full particulars of this terrible tragedy may be read in 
Fiji and the Fijiam ; and in The King and People of Fiji, by 
the Rev. Joseph Waterhouse. 



136 JAMES CALVEET OF FIJI. 

well known that, for some time past, Tui Yiti him- 
self had not tasted human flesh. Best of all, just 
when the encouragement was needed most, there 
were a number of very interesting and striking cases 
of conversion, of which Mr. Calvert makes thankful 
record. 

In 1853 a great thing was accomplished in the 
issuing from the mission press of a large revised 
edition of the New Testament in the Fijian lan- 
guage. , 

Mr. Calvert writes : 

" On the 21st of April we finished ,the printing of 
three thousand copies of the New Testament, with 
one thousand extra of Matthew, and one thousand 
extra of Matthew with Komans and Philippians. 
Mr. Martin has worked hard by day and night. 
Mr. Rees has rendered constant and efficient help 
for eleven weeks. Our pressmen (trained natives) 
have toiled almost beyond their strength, some of 
them looking very pale under their unusually hard 
labour. 

" The Book can now easily have what corrections 
may be further necessary marked for an edition in 
London, which, I think, should be attended to as 
soon as may be, so that it may be ready to forward 
to London whenever a favourable opportunity offers 
by the presence in England of a Fijian missionary 



VIWA. 137 

(which is indispensable), for having ten thousand 
copies printed and bound there." 

When he wrote thus, he certainly had no idea that 
he was to be the returned missionary who should 
be entrusted with this important work. 

In July the time came round again for the state 
visit of the King of Somosomo, at which it had been 
customary to provide a great feast of human flesh. 
Mr. Owen, a trader, who was in thorough sympathy 
with the mission, brought Tui Thakau, the Somosomo 
chief, in his vessel. 

"About five o'clock this morning," writes Mr. 
Calvert, "I was informed that eighteen persons of 
the Ndau ni Nakelo tribe had been killed. I 
hastened to Mbau, where I arrived just after sunrise. 
I found that one had escaped in the night, twelve 
were dead, and five still living. They were laid out 
or sitting at the temples in Lasakau and Soso (the 
fishermen's quarter). It was harrowing to see the 
mangled bodies, and to look on, and be looked 
at anxiously by those still alive. I proceeded at 
once to Tui Viti. He was about being appointed 
Vunivalu.* I took with me two whales' teeth. I 
showed him the account in the Missionary Notices 
of Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth applying to his father 

* The highest official title of the Mbau king, the conferring 
of which was, in effect, his formal investiture as sovereign. 



138 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

for the lives of those who had been kidnapped by the 
former king of the fishermen, and laid a tooth on 
the record, and requested him to do as his father had 
done by sparing the lives of those still alive. I then 
showed him the letter in which was written his 
promise to Lieutenant Pollard, of H.M.S. the 
Bramble, that he would not, after that visit of the 
King of Somosomo, allow any more human beings to 
be cooked at Mbau ; and I entreated him to permit 
all that were dead to be buried. He was calm, and 
tolerably respectful. I referred to the strangling of 
the five women, and said that, if he spared the 
prisoners of war, and buried the dead, it would some- 
what counteract the disgrace of that crime, and would 
show that he was disposed to follow the light, and 
the better feelings of his mind and heart, and give 
up the disgraceful practices of Fiji. After further 
talk, he said that I might go to the chief of the 
fishermen [the official cannibal purveyor] and ask 
him to spare the li ves of the living, and to the King 
of Somosomo, and ask him not to eat the dead. 
Knowing the uselessness of this, I refused. He then 
said, 'It is in my power alone to save the living, 
and have the dead buried. What I choose I do, and 
none can interfere.' 

" After some time I heard that one more was killed; 
and I again urged him to send orders that no more 
should be killed. He refused. A report then came 



VIWA. 139 

that all were killed. I left, telling him that I was 
free from all blame, which would rest wholly on him. 
On going to Lasakau I found five still alive. I 
went to the chief of the fishermen, who, observing 
my approach, went away. I hastened, and found 
him in the temple. He was much confused, and 
declared that the victim who had been allotted to 
him as his share he had set at liberty as an offering 
to me, and the whole outrage had been done by 
the direct orders of the king. The fact was that 
the man who was missing had made his own escape. 
I went to speak to the living. Two of them ap- 
peared to be insensible. I conversed with three, 
and besought them to trust in that almighty, and 
all-loving Saviour who had saved the thief on the 
cross, and was able to save their souls from guilt and 
hell, and to unite their bodies and souls in glory for 
ever. As these men were alive, I was unwilling to 
leave. Not finding Tui Viti, I went to see the Soso 
chief and two of his people who had been wounded 
in the affray. I also went to the King of Somosomo, 
and spoke to him against the horrible practice of 
eating human flesh. He said they did not wish to 
eat it ; and he should rejoice if I would prevail upon 
the Mbau chief not to send the bodies to him ; but, if 
they were sent, they dared not refuse to eat them, 
as they were subject to Mbau, and in great fear. 
" I went to Vata-ni-Tawaki (the great temple). A 



140 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

great shout throughout Mbau announced that Tui 
Viti had drunk the yaiiggona of the Vunivalu, and 
was installed into the office of the head chief. Then 
a shout from Lasakau made known that, their pre- 
parations being completed, they were dragging the 
bodies to the temple. They held the hands of the 
dead, and dragged them on their backs with their 
heads grating on the ground. The head .of the first 
was dashed against a great stone, and the others were 
heaped upon it. There was much evidently sup- 
pressed glee, while I looked on and reproved them. 
A chief asked me if I should like one of the bodies 
to eat. I publicly expressed my pain at the gross 
insult. 

" At noon I departed, feeling tired and faint. Surely 
such heathenism calls for effort. In the midst of all, 
one feels much encouraged to labour fearlessly and 
hard ; for there is something in the people on which 
our pleading tells. These evils and abominations 
must give way. May the Lord ' bind the strong 
man,' and spoil his goods, and establish the reign 
of Christ!" 

Mr. Calvert then went with Mr. Owen, the owner 
of the vessel which had brought the King of Somo- 
somo to Mbau, and told the chief that he should not 
be allowed to return on her if the horrible feast were 
eaten. After much persuasion, he said that he dare 



VIWA. 141 

not prevent the cooking of the flesh, but that, when 
the ovens were opened next morning, the contents 
should be given up for burial. On the next day this 
was done, and Mr. Owen brought in a boat to Viwa 
eighty-four cooked portions of the victims, which 
were forthwith buried. 

During this year the missionaries lost a faithful 
friend and valuable ally in the good Christian chief 
of Viwa, Verani, who lost his life in an attempt to 
avert war; and thus there disappeared one of the 
noblest figures from the mission scene. He had 
always been a man of great power and influence. 
In the old stormy days he was the chosen and 
staunch friend of Thakombau, and was foremost 
in every deed of violence. His very name the 
Fijian imitation of the word " France " was the 
record of an atrocious crime. A French trader was 
anchored off his island of Viwa, and, acting under 
orders from Mbau, he killed all on board, and pil- 
laged the vessel. As a warrior, he was famous for 
his fearless and ferocious courage. Mr. Cross had 
earnestly prayed and worked for the young chiefs 
conversion. He received much consideration and 
kindness from him, but for a long time saw no 
sign of change. Yet Verani was gradually getting 
interested in the new religion ; and, unlike all 
others, even began to learn to read without joining 
the lotu. He continued in his old course, and led 



142 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

his terrible band of picked warriors in several scenes 
of frightful carnage. But a change had begun. 
With growing knowledge of the truth, he discovered 
the evil of his own life, and an awakened conscience 
made the brave man fearful. Several of his people, 
who had become Christians, were very intent upon 
helping him to do right. In their watchful kind- 
ness they found out that there were times when he 
went stealthily into the woods to pray ; and, while 
engaged in actual war, he was known to kneel and 
call upon God to protect him. At last, he asked 
from his superior chief and friend, Thakombau, 
permission to lotu. It was refused, and he was 
recommended to wait yet awhile. But the man's 
convictions had become so strong that he could no 
longer resist them ; and he resolved, at all cost, to 
take the decisive step. His public renouncing of 
heathenism brought upon him immediately insult 
and outrage. But he never faltered. His greatest 
suffering was caused by the loss of the friendship of 
Thakombau, who was much exasperated at Verani's 
change ; though he said to others, " Did I not tell 
that we could not turn Verani ? He is a man of one 
heart. When he was with us he was fully one with 
us ; now he is a Christian, he is decided, and not to 
be moved." This opinion was formed upon a very 
intimate knowledge, and was fully justified. Verani 
announced his intention to be thorough by putting 



VIWA. 143 

away all his wives but one. When his old heathen 
friends remonstrated with him, and advised him to 
keep them as servants, he replied, " You are on the 
devil's side. If my wife cannot manage in our 
house, I will help her to get wood, and to cook our 
food ; but I will not continue to sin against God." 
His remorse for his past crimes was very sincere, and 
his penitence genuine and deep. When, after many 
days of earnest prayer, he found peace with God, 
through faith in Jesus Christ, all men knew how real 
and thorough was the change. 

" Though Verani refused, on behalf of himself 
and the Christians, to engage in war, saying, ' I 
have already fought too much ; I have done now ' ; 
yet his was too earnest and active a nature to 
remain idle. But he had now espoused another 
cause. One day, less than two months after his 
conversion, Verani ordered his great war-canoe to be 
launched. A dark day was it, in time past, for some 
town or island, when the great sail of that canoe 
went up to the wild shouts of the painted warriors 
who thronged the deck ; but it was far otherwise 
now. Verani, directed by the new power of love to 
God and man, was setting sail to carry the mis- 
sionary to the distant islands under his charge ; and 
wherever the war-canoe of the dreaded chieftain 
touched it brought ' the fulness of the blessing of 



Ui JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

the Gospel of peace.' The sound conversion of this 
man was a great help to the mission. His decision 
for God, his marriage to one wife, his willingness to 
become poor and despised, were a subject of wonder 
and inquiry throughout Fiji. And wherever he 
went his simple zeal and earnestness increased the 
wonder, and drew more fixed attention to the re- 
ligion which had wrought so marvellous a change." 

Hunt was the missionary whom he carried, and 
wrote thus about the memorable voyage : 

" I have visited the Christians at Ovalau. Verani 
took me, and behaved in a very becoming manner 
during the time we were absent. He strongly 
recommended the lotu to all the people with whom 
we had intercourse. In fact, he made it his busi- 
ness, and went for the express purpose of persuading 
the Ovalau people to throw up their heathenism. 
He persuaded some, and got the promise of others 
to join before long. He visited a town or two by 
himself, to teach them what he knew. I quite 
admired his untiring efforts, and felt ashamed of 
myself. During the seven days that we were to- 
gether, I heard no unbecoming expression from his 
lips. When not engaged with the heathen or 
Christians in conversing on religion, he was con- 
stantly reading his book, and asking the meaning of 



VIWA. 145 

what lie read. He also kept all his men closely to 
their reading, day by day, and persuaded some 
heathen chiefs, who came to see him, to learn the 
alphabet, which was accomplished by two young 
men in two hours, much to our satisfaction. They 
would probably return again to their town and think 
no more of it ; but we cannot but admire Verani's 
earnest desire for the welfare of others." 

At his baptism Verani received the name of 
Elijah, and called his house Kirica, or Cherith. 
He became a very effective preacher, and held 
himself ready for any work in the service of the 
mission, while he lost no opportunity of using his 
influence to prevent war, or to mitigate its horrors. 
In 1853, Thakombau found himself beset more and 
more closely with difficulties and peril. The white 
men on the island of Ovalau were actively plotting 
against him. In the mountainous interior of Ovalau 
were certain tribes which were subject to Viwa. 
These were bought over by bribes supplied by the 
whites, and revolted from their hitherto acknow- 
ledged chief, Verani. A very grave crisis was then 
brought about, and Thakombau consulted with 
Verani as to the best way of meeting it. Mes- 
sengers were despatched to call upon the insurgents 
to return to their allegiance ; but they found things 
had gone so far that they were afraid to land. 

10 



146 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Hereupon Verani declared his purpose to go to 
them himself. Mr. Calvert saw how great was the 
risk, and tried to persuade him not to go to the 
hill-town, Lavoni. Verani said, " Prevent me not ; 
for we shall not escape unless Lavoni be regained. 
I sent, but they could not get ashore. I will go 
myself and try." As he was setting out, he said, 
" This may be the time of my removal. That I 
leave." The missionary prayed with him, and they 
parted with tears. When on board his boat he bade 
his brother farewell, and exhorted him, should he 
fall, to be faithful as a Christian. And so the chief 
set out, without flinching, upon an enterprise far 
more heroic than any desperate adventure of his 
old warrior days. He knew how deadly was the 
danger awaiting him, and he deliberately went into 
it unarmed, that he might follow his Master, who 
came to save men's lives, and not to kill. With two 
of his brothers and four other men, he landed at 
night, and made his way through the bush up to 
Lavoni. At first, his errand promised to succeed. 
But a chief, who thought he had a personal grudge 
against him, came on the scene, and the whole party 
were shot or clubbed. The murderers took the slain 
men to Levuka, and were well paid by the white 
men for their work. As soon as the news of the 
crime reached Mbau, Mr. Waterhouse hastened to 
Ovalau, and courageously demanded the bodies. 



VIWA, 147 

They were given up to him, and were buried with 
Christian rites. 

In the year following matters grew worse and worse 
with Thakombau. The white settlers at Ovalau, who 
had used all means to hinder his becoming Christian, 
lest he should put a stop to some of their evil practices, 
were now more busy than ever in stirring up war 
against him, and he was in great danger. In addi- 
tion to this, he fell ill, and his strength was much 
reduced. He now yielded to the request of Mr. 
Calvert, and gave up a house in Mbau as a residence 
for a missionary. It was occupied, forthwith, by the 
Eev. Joseph "Waterhouse. The death of his old 
friend, Verani, had greatly moved the king ; and 
now news came that his late visitor, Tui Tuikilakila, 
the King of Somosomo, had been murdered. This 
also greatly disturbed him. Just at this time he 
received two letters; one extracted from a Sydney 
paper, in which the American consul in Fiji brought 
the heaviest charges against him, and strongly ad- 
vised that he and his city of Mbau should be swept 
away by force. This greatly exasperated the king, 
but, at the same time, added to his uneasiness, and 
made him the more ready to listen to the pleadings 
of the other letter, which was sent to him by King 
George of Tonga, earnestly beseeching him at once 
to lotu. For a time he hesitated, and then told 
Mr. Waterhouse that he would lotu on the following 



148 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Sunday. Mr. Calvert thus describes in his journal 
what took place : 

"Sunday, April 30&, 1854. Mr. Waterhouse 
having desired us to go over, wishing me to take the 
morning service, we crossed over to Mbau early. 
At eight o'clock the chief sent ordering the drum to 
be beaten. The large drum called rogorogo ai valu, 
reporter of war, usually beaten when the Mbauans 
have killed and dragged any of their enemies, was 
now used to announce the coming of the Saviour's 
reign in this dreadful city. We entered before 
many had arrived. I expected there would be only 
a few from each division of Mbau as a pledge of 
the whole ; and, indeed, so it was. The chiefs wives 
and children, he and his people, and some from 
other families assembled, the men being preceded by 
an old grey-headed priest. It was affecting and 
pleasing to see them attired in large dresses of 
Tongan cloth, and serious beyond what I expected. 
There were upwards of three hundred. I felt much 
moved, and was afraid that I could not proceed with 
the service. However, I got through. I was asto- 
nished at the very orderly appearance of the 
congregation. All knelt ; and I doubt not that 
there was a goodly number of sincere worshippers, 
while all were brought under the same word of life. 
That which has hindered is taken out of the way. 



VIWA. 149 

Besides, the chief is evidently very desirous that 
others should join him. He has already sent to 
several towns, desiring them to lotu. He went off 
with us to the mission-house, and appeared as if he 
were relieved in body and mind of a great burden. 

"After they had eaten, many children came to 
the mission-house for alphabets, and began to read in 
the verandah. There were many groups, forming 
a Sunday School, several getting hold of the mission 
servants and a few Viwa Christians to teach them. 
All rejoiced. Early the next morning I called to bid 
good-bye to the chief. He and his principal wife 
desired me to conduct family prayer. I was begin- 
ning, when they asked me to wait till all came. 
Carpenters, visitors, servants, were to dress and come 
in. A great number were present. What a change ! 
How many evils, to which they, even when enlight- 
ened heathens, cling tenaciously, are done away at a 
stroke ! What a basis for good deep, extensive, 
everlasting good to body and soul ! Glory be to God ! 
We bless the God of heaven ! Blessed be the name 
of God for ever and ever ! for wisdom and might are 
His ; and He changeth the times and the seasons ! " 

It was truly a great event great for Fiji, and 
very great in the personal history of Calvert the 
missionary. For years the conversion of Thakombau 
had been asked for in his daily prayers ; and he had 



150 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

lost no opportunity of reproving and instructing 
him. He set before himself continually the planting 
of Christianity in Mbau as an object to be worked 
for with all earnestness. But the king's persistence 
in evil, and the enormous wickedness of his city, had 
almost led the other missionaries to give up hope, 
and to fall in with the counsel that it would be 
better to leave Mbau and its king alone in their 
incorrigible evil. Even when Mr. Waterhouse went 
to live at Mbau, he went with the gloomiest 
prospects, as to a forlorn hope. Thus, for some time 
past, Calvert's faith had been sorely tried with every 
possible discouragement ; but he kept on, praying, 
trusting, and working; and now the long thick 
darkness began to be broken. It was not yet day, 
but there were signs of dawn ; and no wonder that 
the good man's heart overran with joyful thankful- 
ness. The Vunivalu was far, very far, from being a 
converted Christian; but he had now absolutely 
severed himself from the old heathenism and all its 
evil observances, and he had openly put himself and 
his people under the teaching of the missionaries. 

" He caused the Sabbath to be strictly observed ; 
and procured a large bell, by which to summon his 
numerous household to family prayer. His own 
attendance at the preaching and prayer-meetings 
was regular, and his deportment serious. His little 



VIWA. 151 

boy, of about seven years of age, had already been 
permitted to bear the name of Christian, and had 
learned to read. The little fellow now became the 
teacher of his parents, who were both so eager to 
acquire knowledge that sometimes their young 
instructor would fall asleep with fatigue in the midst 
of the lesson, to resume it after a refreshing nap." 
(Fiji and the Fijians.) 

In his journal Mr. Calvert writes a week after- 
wards : 

"This has been such a week as I have not 
previously had in Fiji. It is like a dream when one 
awaketh ; yet it is a blessed reality ; for it is rest 
after labour, ease after painful anxiety, joyful 
exultation after being cast down. The language of 
all our visitors is changed. They say, 'Our chief 
has lotued ; it is now near us ; we shall all soon lotu.' 
Formerly all were waiting for him. 

" To-day I have had a conversation with a teacher, 
who has been at Mbau to help Mr. Waterhouse, and 
has to-day fetched his wife, that he may go and live 
with the chief. He says that the chief speaks and 
acts like a man who has been walking in Grod's way, 
and understands the Scriptures. ' The fact is,' he said, 
' lie has been thoroughly instructed, and is able now to 
put in practice, and to tell others, what he knows.' 



152 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

" Yesterday, when his food was ready, he sent for 
the head priest, and asked him to drink soup, and 
eat with him. This he is not allowed to do as a 
priest, but has separate provision made for him. 
The old priest refused, pretending that he was tipsy. 
The chief said, ' Well, don't mistake ; you must plant 
your own food, and eat and drink like other people 
for the future. There will be no chief now to supply 
you, and no island whence any will be allowed to 
bring you food as a priest. You have long and 
greatly deceived me. I have decided, and we shall 
all become Christians, and follow it to our lives' end.'" 

The war troubles which pressed so heavily upon 
Thakombau, at the time of his becoming lotu, went 
on from worse to worse, and he was in grave peril. 
The whites, on the one hand, and his old enemies at 
Rewa, on the other, threatened his destruction. 
The chief of Rewa sent to warn Mr. Waterhouse 
to remove speedily, as he was about to demolish 
Mbau and its king. Thakombau was much touched 
by the missionary's determination to remain with 
him. He at last yielded to milder counsels, and 
sought to make peace with his enemies ; but they 
rejected his advances. Mr. Calvert's position was 
one of great difficulty, and of not a little danger. 
He was well known as the firm friend of the 
Vunivalu, while he also passed freely to and fro 



VI W A. 153 

among his foes. Two months after Thakombau's 
turning, Calvert had a very narrow escape. Journey- 
ing from one place to another in the interests of 
peace, he determined to call, on his way home, at 
the island of Moturiki, to warn the people there that 
the Ovalau chief was about to attack them. He 
himself thus describes his peril and escape : 

" We found that the tide did not serve well for 
landing ; we therefore steered towards the entrance 
[in the reef] leading to Viwa. One of my boat's 
crew observed a man on the Moturiki beach 
beckoning to us, and told me. I desired one of 
my Rotumans to go on shore, as it was a long dis- 
tance for me to wade, and we would put in at , 
another point for him, where I would see the people. 
He got in the water, and was proceeding towards 
the shore, when he observed several persons come 
out from among the cocoa-nut trees. He was afraid, 
and said, ' They are from Lovoni [a mountain district 
in Ovalau], and will kill me.' I requested him to 
come into the boat. The man continued to call. 
He was dressed, which led me to think he was a 
man from Mbau who had lotued. I did not like to 
let the opportunity pass, and immediately got on my 
old water shoes. I did not believe them to be 
Lovonians ; but said to the boat's crew that, should 
I be killed, they were to return to Levuka, so that 



154 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Tui Levuka might get my body. Kaitu, a Rotuman, 
wished to go with me. I forbade him, and ordered 
them to take the boat round by the deep water near 
the reef, and put in for me at the other side. The 
beach was a considerable distance from me, and the 
water was in some places over knee-deep. As I 
proceeded towards the shore, many more persons 
made their appearance, some running fast towards 
me from two directions. As they neared me they 
looked very fierce, and made gestures indicative 
of evil intentions towards me. I could not get to 
the boat, and therefore went on towards the shore. 
One was swifter than the rest, and came near, with 
his gun uplifted, to strike me. I expostulated with 
him. Quickly several were up with me, some of 
whom had clubs uplifted to club me; some with 
hatchets, some with spears laid on in a position to 
throw. One came very near with a musket pointed 
at me, with desperate looks. I trembled ; but 
protested loudly and firmly that they ought not to 
kill me ; that in me there was no cause of death 
from them ; that their killing me would be greatly 
to their disgrace. I was surrounded by upwards of 
a hundred. The features of one I recognised, and 
hoped he was friendly. (This man had thought 
that it was my boat, and, knowing the exasperated 
state of the people against the whites for meddling 
in the present wars, fearing that I should be in 



VIWA. 155 

danger, had run towards me ; but was|late in reaching 
me, from having run a sharp shell into his foot.) He 
took hold of me, recognising me as the husband of 
the lady of the wooden house at Viwa, who had 
frequently purchased food of them, and treated them 
kindly ; and he said I should live. I clung to him, 
and disputed for my life with those who clamoured 
for my death. Another man's face, through a thick 
covering of soot, exhibited features familiar to me ; 
but a fearful-looking battle-axe he held in his hand 
attracted my eye. However, I laid hold of him, 
and advised and urged him not to kill me. Thus I 
was between two who might be friendly. I told my 
name, my work, my labours in various ways, again 
and again, on their behalf ; my having offered Tui 
Levuka a very large looking-glass if he would let 
them alone ; my having entreated Mara and the 
mountaineers not to attack them, and my preventing 
an intended attack. I told them that I had inter- 
ceded with the Mbau chief to send them the help 
by which they were now strengthened ; and that my 
full knowledge of being one and friendly with them 
led me to come on shore ; that no white man who 
had been active in the war against them would 
have dared to come on shore there. Matters were 
in a hopeful state, when a very ugly man drew near 
with great vehemence. Many had avowed them- 
s^lves in my favour. He appeared resolutely de- 



158 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

termined, in spite of opposition, to take away my 
life. He was extremely ferocious, but his arms 
were seized and held by several. He struggled hard 
for a length of time to get his musket to bear on 
me, which, indeed, he once or twice managed ; but 
it was warded off before he could fire. At length his 
rage subsided. All then consented to my living. 
But their thirst for killing had got up ; and, as they 
could not kill me, they wished me to return towards 
the boat, intending to accompany me, hoping to get 
one or more of my natives in my stead. I refused to 
go, and persisted in approaching the shore, led by 
two. One untied my neck-cloth, and took it. They 
pulled my coat, and felt me, and I fully expected to 
be stripped. My trousers were wet and heavy. I 
was weak with talking and disputing with them, 
indeed, quite hoarse. As we still went on in the sea, 
they commenced their death-song, always sung as 
they drag along the bodies of enemies slain. I 
feared that might increase their rage, and desired to 
stop it. It was most grating to my feelings, and I 
stood still, and entreated them to desist. After a 
short time they did so, and we proceeded to the 
beach. Those who had run to destroy me departed 
towards their own town. 

" I found Ratu Vuki, a chief of Mbau, had just 
arrived. He was vexed with those who had treated 
me so, and would have punished them. I begged 



VIWA. 157 

he would not. I desired him to send me to Viwa in 
a canoe, as I was sure Mrs. Calvert would be anxious. 
My boys had seen the danger to which I was exposed. 
They also were pursued by the natives, and hastened 
to Viwa, where they arrived about seven o'clock. 
Mrs. Calvert felt much at the alarming intelligence, 
but feared to send the boat to inquire, lest my death 
might be followed by the killing of those she might 
send. She also hoped that I was alive, thinking 
that the Moturiki people would not kill me. At 
midnight I reached Viwa in the canoe, and found 
that my wife had borne up well, but had just given 
her consent to the going to look after me. 

" During the whole of the attack upon me the Lord 
blessed me with great presence of mind and consider- 
able firmness, to stand up, proceed, dispute with 
them, and protest against their taking away my life. 
My trust was in the Lord. He was my Help and 
Deliverer. It appeared to me very probable that my 
course and my ministry were about being ended ; 
yet I was comforted in the assurance 

' They cannot, Lord, my life devour, 
Safe in the hollow of Thine hand.' 

While looking at the instruments of death which 
were held over, and levelled at me, I felt that my 
life was still in His hands, and could only be taken 
by His permission. My prayer was to the God of 
my life. I was persuaded that, if He permitted my 



158 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

death, I should glorify Him in some ways that I 
could not have done by my life. I thought that 
the natives might be thereby led to deep considera- 
tion of the folly and evil of war, and be led to terms 
of peace. I gave myself afresh to the Lord, feeling 
willing and desirous to glorify Him, whether by life 
or death. I thought of my family, and committed 
my children, in England, New Zealand, and Fiji, and 
my much-beloved and faithful wife, to the Lord, in 
whom she trusted. I thought of the mangled body 
of the murdered Williams, and thought my own 
likely to be mangled and abused to the same extent ; 
but I knew that I should not be eaten, even in 
cannibal Fiji, which was some relief to my mind. 
And thus I felt very thankful to Him, who had pre- 
served me to labour more than fifteen years, in which 
I had been employed in rough and dangerous work. 
It seemed to me an appropriate end of my labours 
in Fiji. But how gracious, how wise, how powerful, 
my Deliverer ! Again I am rescued, and privileged 
with restoration to my family and labours." 

In June, Mr. Calvert again visited Lakemba, that 
he might take part in the ordination of native 
ministers. He was very nearly wrecked in trying to 
pass the entrance through the reef at Lakemba. 
For more than an hour they were in great peril, 
and struck the reef twice. At last they succeeded in 



VIWA. 159 

turning round, and effected a landing at another 
part of the coast. 

Three candidates were examined for ordination, 
and two others for admission to a four years' proba- 
tion. These men had been under the instruction of 
Mr. Lyth, whose services in this most important 
branch of the mission were of the utmost possible 
value. The great importance of his medical work 
has been already noticed. In all respects the mission 
owed to his personal influence and labours more than 
can ever be told. His extreme modesty made his 
career far less conspicuous than that of other men ; 
but all who had an opportunity of watching his course 
and its results agree in giving him a chief place 
among those who were instrumental in bringing about 
the reformation of Fiji. 

Mr. Calvert says : " The training of those persons 
for the work of the Lord in which they are to be 
employed must have cost Mr. Lyth immense labour, 
and reflects great credit on both teacher and taught." 
At one place which he visited he was delighted to 
find a large chapel filled with devout worshippers, a 
scene which he thankfully contrasts with the time 
when he tried in vain to introduce Christianity 
there, and then, afterwards, " went there in the 
night, when a few bowed the knee." 

On his return voyage he had another very narrow 
escape, being nearly swept overboard by the boom 



160 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

in jibing. He clung to the boom, and just saved 
himself. They put in at Levuka, where he heard 
very alarming news of the spread of the revolt 
against Mbau, and that the day was fixed for the 
destruction of the Vunivalu. After preaching three 
times on the Sunday at Levuka, as it grew late 
men gathered, angry and threatening, in front of 
the house. They had said that his presence close 
to Mbau was the only thing that hindered the 
murder of the king. The night, therefore, was 
spent in sleepless watching. No attack, however, 
was made; and the next day he reached home at 
Viwa in safety. 

To any one studying the history of Fiji, the position 
and doings of Calvert at this crisis are extremely 
interesting. He had acquired a very remarkable 
influence with the foremost men on both sides of the 
spreading quarrel. He knew them and their policy 
thoroughly, and had become an expert in the 
mysteries of Fijian diplomacy. It is no contradic- 
tion to say that, while he was well hated by some of 
the enemies of Thakombau for thwarting their plans, 
they, at the same time, respected and feared him.* 

* The real respect in which he was held by the white men 
is illustrated by the case of a Jew merchant, who made him 
his executor, and thus laid upon him, amongst other charges, 
the gruesome task of having the testator's body put into a 
cask of rum and forwarded to his widow in Sydney. 



VIWA. 161 

Some among them, though not the most violent, he 
knew very well to be the real strength of the revolt, 
and he used the power he had over them without 
sparing his strength or his property. His journal is 
almost wholly taken up, at this date, with details 
of incessant journeys, and the account of his pleadings 
with different chiefs, pleadings sometimes backed by 
judicious and costly presents. He fully believed 
in the sincerity of the Vunivalu's lotu. The event 
justified his confidence ; but, at the time, probably no 
one but the Christians shared it. The king's enemies 
derided it ; though one of them said, " If he is truly 
lotu we shall not get him ; if a hypocrite, his lotu will 
be only fuel to fire." In the engagements in which 
the Mbau forces took part for their own protection, 
the old cannibal practices entirely ceased. On the 
occasion of the body of a slain enemy being brought 
to Mbau, Calvert writes : " How changed is Mbau ! 
Two years ago the women were strangled on the 
death of the chief. A year ago, any bodies that were 
brought to Mbau were cut up, and cooked, and 
eaten ; and cooked pieces were hung on the mission 
fence. Now, things are altogether changed. The 
chief gave a mat, in which the body was wrapped up, 
and sent to his own relatives to be buried by them." 
The following year saw the end of the great 
rebellion. Peace was made with Eewa without 
further fighting ; but the rest of the revolting tribes 

11 



162 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

gathered their forces, largely helped by the whites, 
at one place, which they strongly fortified. In 
March, George Tubou, the Christian king of Tonga, 
visited Mbau with a large fleet, to receive a great 
canoe probably the largest in the world which the 
Fijian king had built for him. The rebels fired 
upon the Tongan canoes, which led George to unite 
his forces with those of Thakombau ; and in one 
short, sharp engagement the stronghold of the 
enemy was stormed and destroyed, and the long war 
was practically at an end. Two hundred prisoners 
were brought to Mbau, where Mr. Calvert found 
them unbound, and with a temporary shelter erected 
over them. He found that the king had ordered 
drink to be given them, and was much touched to 
see the king's little son going about amongst them 
to serve them. None of them were put to death, not 
even Koroi Eavulo, a Mbau chief, who had been one 
of the most implacable and most treacherous of the 
rebels. 

Before King George returned, he accompanied 
Thakombau on his first visit to Rewa since the 
eleven years' war ended. The fleet of more than 
forty canoes made a gallant show ; and Mr. Calvert 
sailed with the Tongan king on his new canoe, 
which had one hundred and forty persons on board. 
From his extremely interesting account of this trip, 
some few extracts may be given : 



VIWA. 163 

" In going towards the canoe, I found that the 
tide, for which they were waiting, was making. 
Baskets, chests, mats, yams, etc., were being taken 
on board. While I was yet on shore, I observed the 
king at one end of the house [on deck] attending, 
apparently, to the reception and stowing of the 
goods, which I thought rather an unkingly employ- 
ment, but supposed it was necessary that some one 
having authority should have that position. ... I 
went to see how the king had managed the stowing 
of the cargo, and was disappointed, as baskets, and 
mats of various sizes and shapes, guns, boxes, etc., 
seemed as if they had been put in accidentally. 
But when I came to the other end of the house, I 
found that the marked and assiduous attention he 
had paid was to prevent encroachment upon a con- 
siderable and very convenient portion of the house, 
which he had appropriated to two young men of his 
crew who had been slightly wounded. 

" All being ready, the anchors were taken up. The 
king gave orders, and took a large pole at the stern 
of the canoe, so as to occupy the principal place for 
steering. They at once began one of their lively 
and inspiriting nautical songs, in which the Tongans 
are pre-eminent. Seven suas, long paddles like oars, 
are worked at the forepart of the vessel, the men 
standing at their work, and twenty paddles astern, 
which is peculiar to Tongan canoes. Twenty long 



164 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

poles were used at the sides and at the stern in 
shoal water. All frequently change for relief. After 
the king and others had poled for some time they 
were relieved by others. Presently he went astern, 
and called to others to join him in relieving the 
paddlers. What was difficult in the management of 
the canoe he was ready to lay hold of. He kept a 
watchful eye on everything ; was grave, yet cheerful. 
All reverenced him, and felt at home with him. 
When we came to a shallow part, and several had to 
get overboard, he was quickly in the water. Once 
I saw him up to his neck. 

" The stern end of the platform was occupied by a 
large square wooden case, the sides of which leaned 
outwards. This was soon needed. There were 
persons appointed for cooking, who had made prepa- 
ration beforehand. The case was covered with green 
leaves, on which were three or four inches of earth. 
Upon the earth was placed one tier of hard stones, 
closely packed. On these stones a fire was made. 
The same could be seen in the bay smoking from all 
the Tongan canoes. On the burning wood many 
more stones are laid, and become hot. These are 
then removed, and yams, or taro, or bread-fruit, are 
cut and laid on the lower tier of stones. Bananas 
and native bread are wrapped up in leaves. As all 
are piled up, the other hot stones are mixed with 
them. The whole is then carefully covered over 



VIWA. 165 

with several thicknesses of bread-fruit leaves stitched 
together. A wet rope is then closely and neatly 
coiled over the whole, which effectually prevents the 
steam from escaping. A coarse cocoa-nut leaf mat 
is laid over this to keep the sun and wind from 
drying the rope. . . . 

" After calling at one place and ratifying the 
peace, they brought up for the night opposite 
Makelo. 

"As soon as we were anchored, I observed the 
king covering with cocoa-nut leaves, to protect from 
dew and rain, a part of the deck in front of the 
canoe house, and he and another put up an end of 
the sail around it. A mat was laid on the floor, and 
I was told it was for my accommodation during the 
night. I begged the king to share it with me, but 
he said he should manage very well. I asked him to 
conduct worship, which he did with admirable spirit, 
propriety, and earnestness. Singing and prayer 
ascended from every canoe. After a short nap, I 
turned out and surveyed the deck-ends of the canoe, 
which were covered with people, who seemed com- 
fortably asleep. The king, I afterwards found, slept 
on deck, with a covering of Tonga cloth. . . . 

" At break of day hymns and prayers resounded 
from the Tonga canoes. After our morning prayer 
[on Thakombau's canoe, to which Calvert had gone 
before daylight] the Vunivalu and I partook of yam 



166 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

and coffee, and I started for Makelo, which I found 
to be a large straggling town, with several moats 
round it. ... I went to the old queen, who had 
lotued with the king, and saw a few who had bowed 
themselves before the Lord since the end of the war. 
They listened to me with marked attention, and 
wish for teachers, whom I hope we shall be able to 
get for them. ... I noticed a small grove of 
bamboos, which, I was told, was planted to provide 
instruments for cutting up dead bodies. These 
bamboos, I was assured, were cut down and uned only 
for that purpose. Bamboo knives are very sharp. 
The natives are as scrupulous about what is used in 
connection with human flesh as Herod was about 
his oath, when he sacrificed the life of John the 
Baptist. I suppose they would not allow a knife 
used for food to be employed in cutting up a human 
body. The oven in which it is cooked they are 
careful not to use even for the vegetables eaten with 
it. The pot in which it is re-cooked is never used 
for any other purpose, but has a place set apart for 
it, where it, and it alone, is kept, so that there can be 
no mistake. On my first arrival in Fiji, I shared 
the common prejudice against food provided at 
places where human flesh is eaten ; but since I have 
been so fully persuaded that the persons, implements, 
and utensils employed in its preparation are scrupu- 
lously avoided in preparing other food, I have no fear 



VIWA. 167 

on that point, even should human flesh be cooking 
in the town at the time. 

" [Sunday was spent in Rewa.] At the usual time 
the drums were beaten. Those from Tongatabu 
assembled in the house occupied by King George, 
those of Vavau and Haapai [the great islands in the 
Friendly group] in the large house, where the Fijian 
service has usually been held. We repaired to Bure 
ko Rewa a sacred place, where dead bodies were 
presented to the gods, and where they are cut up 
and cooked, and where the Vunivalu or any of the 
Mbauans would have been dragged, had they been 
got hold of a few weeks ago. Now all assembled 
together therein to worship the one living and true 
(rod. ... At the service sat an old man from Kan- 
davu, who has treated the Mbau chief ill in the late 
war, and whose canoe was to have been taken from 
him. He was seated second from the Vunivalu, who, 
when he noticed him, gave him a tap on the head 
with his fingers, which showed that all was right, and 
relieved the old man from his fears. We assembled 
in the same place in the afternoon. Mrs. Moore 
[the wife of the missionary stationed at Rewa] and 
I, in returning, went to the king's house to see the 
queen (a Christian). But she was in her private 
apartment a part screened off by Tonga cloth. 
There, I judge, she was holding her class-meeting. 
Another class-meeting of about twenty was being 



168 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

held at the other end of the house. A small number 
were assembled outside on a hill, for the same 
purpose. Private means of grace are liable to be 
neglected in voyaging, but where there's a will 
there's a way. In small houses, on a canoe, under a 
canoe, in the bush, here on a hill in the middle of 
the town, those among them who really fear the 
Lord speak one to another, and stir up each other's 
minds. At Mbau a class-leader came to me to know 
whether he might meet his class in a heathen temple. 
I encouraged him by all means to do so. All the 
principal men at Kewa have lotued, and I doubt not 
that the work will spread much. The change here 
is immense." 

The establishment of peace was immediately 
followed by a wide spread of the lotu ; and Mr. 
Calvert found that, whereas formerly they had begged 
chiefs to receive a teacher, and very often in vain, 
now they were besieged on all hands by earnest 
requests that teachers might be sent. They were at 
their wits' end to meet the demand, as also to furnish 
necessary supplies of books. " We are perplexed," he 
writes, " for want of men. The change is so sudden 
and extensive that we are not at all able to get men 
for each town who can read, and pray, and teach read- 
ing. It is with difficulty that we get books printed 
to meet the demand. This year we have printed 



VIWA. 169 

upwards of twenty thousand each of the first and 
second reading books; but that will not meet the case." 
Mr. Calvert had now been seventeen years in Fiji. 
Of those who were on the ground when he arrived, or 
came with him, not one was left. Several times 
during the last year or two, the question of his 
return home had been raised ; but the General 
Superintendent of the Polynesian missions, the Rev. 
W. B. Boyce, wrote imploring him to stay until the 
issue of the war was decided. He said, " You have 
an influence which no one else can have. If you 
remain, we have no fears ; but if you leave, I have 
little hope of war being prevented, as you are the 
master mind of the King of Mbau. In supporting 
his authority you have done well, and are Scripturally 
justified ; and you have consulted the good of all 
parties in Fiji, as it was the only plan by which 
anarchy could have been prevented." The danger 
was now at an end, and peace restored ; and all 
who knew the course of affairs acknowledged that 
this result was mainly owing to Calvert's incessant 
exertions. He had gained great influence with 
Thakombau ; and that which had been for years a 
chief aim of his life was well nigh reached when the 
king lotued. He still prayed on, and worked for 
his actual conversion ; but it was not till after he 
had left that he was gladdened by the welcome news 
that the Vunivalu had been baptised. 



170 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



He then dismissed his many wives, every one of 
whom represented an alliance which brought him 
power and wealth. All this was now renounced for 
righteousness' sake, and he was solemnly married to 
his chief queen, who had become a genuine and de- 
voted Christian. The others speedily found husbands 
and homes. Mr. Waterhouse thus describes the 
baptism : 

"In the afternoon [January llth, 1857] the king 
was publicly baptised. In the presence of God, he 
promised to ' renounce the devil and all his works, 
the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all 
the sinful lusts of the flesh.' He engaged to believe 
all the articles of the Christian faith ; and solemnly 
vowed, in the name of the Holy Trinity, ' to keep 
God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in 
the same all the days of his life.' In accordance 
with my request, previously conveyed, the king 
then addressed the assembly. It must have cost 
him many a struggle to stand up before his court, 
his ambassadors, and the flower of his people, to 
confess his former sins. In time past he had con- 
sidered himself a god, and had received honours 
almost divine from his people. Now he humbles 
himself, and adores his great Creator and merciful 
Preserver. And what a congregation he had ! 
Husbands, whose wives he had dishonoured ! widows, 



VIWA. 171 

whose husbands he had slain ! sisters, whose relatives 
had been strangled by his orders ! relatives, whose 
friends he had eaten ! and children, the descendants 
of those he had murdered, and who had vowed to 
avenge the wrongs inflicted on their fathers ! A 
thousand stony hearts heaved with fear and astonish- 
ment as Thakombau said, ' I have been a bad man. 
I disturbed the country. The missionaries came, 
and invited me to embrace Christianity ; but I said 
to them, " I will continue to fight." God has sin- 
gularly preserved my life. At one time I thought 
that I had myself been the instrument of my own 
preservation ; but now I know that it was the Lord's 
doing. I desire to acknowledge Him as the only 
and the true God. I have scourged the world.' 
He was deeply affected, and spoke with great 
diffidence." 

From that day forward till his death nearly 
twenty-six years he proved the truth of his conver- 
sion by a consistent and faithful Christian life. 

The old king, after the cession of his dominions to 
Great Britain, was thoroughly faithful to the compact, 
and uniformly used his influence to facilitate the 
new order of government. He died in 1881. In 
the night before he passed away, he said, <; We 
have not had prayers yet, have we ? Well, we will 
have them now, and I will conduct them." So he 



172 JAMES CALVE RT OF FIJI. 

prayed with his wonted simplicity and fervour. 
Afterwards he said : " Lord, be gracious unto me. 
Here I lie in obedience to Thy will. Life and death 
are in Thy hands. Thou alone rulest." The last 
petition that those about him could hear was, 
" Hold me, Jesus ! Hold me, Jesus ! My faith in 
Thee is firm." 

The Eev. F. Langham, who was present, wrote to 
Mr. Calvert : 

" He died well. It would have rejoiced your heart 
to see the grand old warrior for grand he certainly 
did look as he lay on his mat saying he trusted 
in Jesus, his loving Saviour. His son, Timothy, 
and his daughters knelt with me while I prayed 
to the waiting Saviour to receive the departing 
spirit. I could hardly get words out, for we were 
all weeping. We were thankful that he had ended 
his stormy life so peacefully. . . . You may imagine 
I miss the old man. He was always so regular 
in church, and one of the best hearers I ever knew. 
And how appropriately he used to pray! With 
what sweet simplicity ! You remember what choice 
language he used. He had a fine command of 
Fijian words. It was always a treat to listen to him 
whether in the prayer-meeting, or class-meeting, or 
lovefeast. It was something worth doing to win 
him for Christ. Thank God for such a glorious 



VIWA. 173 

trophy of redeeming mercy ! And what a multitude 
have been won to a profession of religion, and 
brought to know the Saviour, through a knowledge 
of his conversion, and by his influence and example! " 

To return. A great work called for Calvert's 
presence in England. The mission press had done 
wonders ; but it was no longer equal to the demands 
upon it. There had been published at Viwa, as already 
stated, besides large numbers of separate Scripture 
books and other works, an edition of one thousand of 
the entire New Testament in Fijian ; and, two years 
later, a revised edition of three thousand. The 
British and Foreign Bible Society had given most 
liberal aid, by grants of money and paper, to this 
work, and then by sending out an edition of five 
thousand published in England, where Mrs. Hunt did 
valuable service in correcting the press. These 
Testaments were thankfully purchased by the Fijian 
Christians. The translation of the whole Bible was 
at last complete, and the Bible Society undertook to 
print it as soon as an expert in the language should 
reach England. For this service Mr. Calvert was 
chosen by common consent ; and thus his first long 
term of work in Fiji came to an end. 

On his last Sunday he preached at Mbau to a 
thousand people assembled in the large public Guest 
House; and both preacher and people were much 



174 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

moved. The long years of toil, and suffering, and 
danger were forgotten that day in joyful thankfulness 
for the wonderful changes that had come about. Two 
days after, on November 13th, 1855, with Mrs. Calvert 
and three of their children, he left Fiji in the Wesley. 
The Rev. Thomas West and his family, from 
Tonga, sailed with them. When five days out they 
reached the solitary island of Rotumah, three 
hundred miles to the north of Fiji. The mission 
here had been entirely carried on by native Fijian 
and Tongan teachers, who had learned the language 
of the people. A missionary paid a visit to the 
island about once a year. It being Sunday, Mr. 
Calvert preached to "a large and very attentive 
congregation " at Oinatha, the principal town, 
Eliezer, a teacher, acting as interpreter. He says : 

"I was perfectly surprised to see the amazing 
difference observable in the people since the time of 
my former visit. They were like another people. 
Upwards of one hundred were prepared for baptism, 
and their names written on a paper handed to me by 
Eliezer, who is stationed here with Jotame. He has 
gained an excellent knowledge of the language 
during the year, and was very ready in interpreting. 
He has evidently been very diligent, and success has 
attended his efforts. He has carefully attended to 
the classes, and to children, and the adult schools. 



VIWA. 175 

I baptised the chief, Josiah Tokainina, who is very 
anxious for an English missionary." 

Three days were spent on Eotumah, and several 
places visited. One hundred and eighty-three 
persons were baptised. The Wesley had been un- 
able to anchor, and, in very bad weather, had stood 
off and on all the time. They had to sail above ten 
miles out to reach her. 

" Thus end my labours for the present in these 
seas. May the Lord henceforth guide me by His 
counsel, employ me in His service, keep me from 
every evil, strengthen me in every duty, and 
succeed with His blessing my future work, and 
afterwards receive me to glory. Amen." 



CHAPTEE V. 

HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 



177 12 



Arrival in England. Woodbridge and Bible Work. Catholicity. 
Mission Advocacy. The Call to return to Fiji Voyage 
Out. Arrival at Lakemba. First Missionary Meetings at 
Mbau and Viwa. Settled at Ovalau. Moturiki revisited. 
Diplomatic Work. Kevision and Blind Shem. Visit to 
Lakemba. Beginning of the Jubilee Chapel. Presentation 
of Address. Eejoicing on account of Great Success. School 
Feast at Mbau. Training Institution on Kandavu. Another 
Visit to Rotumah. Ordination of Native Ministers. Farewell 
Services. Left Fiji. 



178 



CHAPTER V. 

HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 

ON his way home, at the close of 1855, Mr. 
Calvert spent some little time in Sydney, and 
also attended the Conference in Melbourne. His 
evidence concerning the work accomplished in Fiji 
made a deep impression in the colonies to the great 
benefit of the mission funds. Two Christian natives, 
who had come up with him in the Wesley, accom- 
panied him to several of the meetings which were 
held in New South Wales, and excited much in- 
terest by their statements. 

England was reached in the spring of 1856 ; and 
Mr. Calvert forthwith set about the work for which 
especially he had come. The translation of the Old 
Testament had to be prepared for the press, and the 
New Testament translation to be further revised, 
both under the direction of the Editorial Sup^rin- 
tendent of Translations of the Bible Society, t&e 
late Rev. T. W. Meller, rector of Woodbridge, 
Suffolk ; and in his parish the Cal verts settled down, 
and, for the first time, gathered all their children 

179 



180 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

together about them. Their eldest had been with 
relatives in England several years, and the two next 
were sent to school in New Zealand. Four years 
were spent in diligent application to the work of 
producing the first complete edition of the Fijian 
Bible, a work demanding patient labour, and anxious 
attention and pains, of which those who see only 
the completed result have but little notion. 

While this responsible task had the first claim on 
his time and energy, Mr. Calvert found opportunity 
for much valuable service in other ways. His 
personal character and influence were continually 
felt for good in Woodbridge, and his genial warmth 
and cheery brightness brought help to many. He 
is still remembered there for the large, free catho- 
licity with which he held himself ready to help in 
the service of any Christian Church, and to hold 
the most affectionate fellowship with its members. 
His soul had grown up outside of the cramping re- 
straints of small ecclesiastical and sectarian jealousies 
and bigotries, and altogether refused to be held by 
them from giving full play to the instincts of Chris- 
tian brotherhood. This was not because he had no 
definition on the Church side of his religion, nor 
because he reckoned Church principles to be of 
little importance. He stood always loyally and 
lovingly by the Church to which he belonged. 
Observation, indeed, seems to compel the conclusion, 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 181 

that a catholicity which affects to have no such 
standing, has seldom, if ever, strength to make itself 
really effective. 

His advocacy of the great missionary cause was of 
the highest possible service. Without the slightest 
pretence to rhetorical art, he told with manly sim- 
plicity the story of what he himself had seen. And 
with the simplicity was a quick warmth, which 
reproduced all the feelings that had moved him in 
witnessing, and taking part in, the scenes which he 
described. While listening to him, it was impos- 
sible to doubt his truth and sincerity, which gave 
a wonderful force to his speaking, such as no artistic 
oratory could have produced ; and occasional gleams 
of genuine but well-controlled humour made him at 
times irresistible. And, in his pleading, what a case 
he had ! 

Very quickly, and crowded with busy service, 
those years at home passed away. Then news came 
from Fiji that the mission staff, overtaxed by the 
rapidly growing claims of the work, was seriously 
crippled by the death of one of its strongest men, 
the Rev. John Polglase. Already it had been 
determined to send out a considerable reinforce- 
ment, and six young missionaries were designated 
for the service. The need was great, and no one 
knew its urgency so well as Mr. Calvert and his 
noble wife. The call came; and between the hearing 



182 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

and the obeying there was no pause of hesitation 
or debate. The cost was great ; and it was reckoned 
and faced. The happy English home, with the 
children all about them, must be given up. They, 
being as fully one in sacred devotion as in wedded 
love, brought the sacrifice, and offered themselves to 
return alone to Fiji. All the children were well 
provided for by the aid of willing friends, who 
reckoned it a great privilege to be suffered to 
lighten the burden of these faithful ones. 

On December 12th, 1860, the mission party, ac- 
companied by many loving friends, went down the 
Thames to Gravesend, where they embarked for 
Australia. They had, on the whole, a good voyage. 
The young missionaries and their wives met regularly 
to study the Fijian language, and by the time they 
reached Sydney could read and translate with fair 
success. In a letter written on board, Mr. Calvert 
says, "Mrs. Calvert and I are more and more 
persuaded that we are in our proper path. She 
has suffered a good deal, but bears all in the best 
way." In that short sentence, written hurriedly to 
catch a ship spoken at sea, how much motherly 
anguish is covered by the words " has suffered a 
good deal ! " They anchored at Sydney in three 
months and seven days after starting, and, having 
spent about a month in the colony, set out again 
on April 23rd. They called at the Friendly 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 183 

Islands, and arrived in Fiji on the morning of 
May 30th. 

The John Wesley brought up off Lakemba, where 
Mr. and Mrs. Calvert first landed twenty-three years 
before. It is not easy to imagine all they felt as 
they looked once more on that familiar coast, every 
feature of which brought back the thought of some 
incident of the eventful ten years spent there. What 
changes had been brought about since then ! The 
whole island was now at least nominally Christian. 
The old king, Tui Nayau, still lived, and had long 
since forsaken heathenism and all its evil ways. It 
was a harvest-field now, and these faithful workers 
looked back to the long, hard seed-time, and were 
glad with an unutterable thanksgiving. 

Some of the missionaries and the widow of Mr. 
Polglase came off to the Wesley ; but only Mr. and 
Mrs. Calvert could go ashore. " We went," he says, 
" to see the old king ; and he and I kissed each 
other. I prayed with him and his one wife, to whom 
he had been married since I left. We also went to 
see other friends." The Wesley reached Mbau a few 
days afterwards, having called at several stations on 
the way. The District Meeting was held forthwith. 

" During the District Meeting," Mr. Calvert 
writes, " the first Missionary Meeting was held at 
Mbau. It was a grand sight. Thakombau, in full 



184 JAMES CALVERT 0* FIJI. 

dress, led the way into the large square when the 
collection was brought. When near the spot where 
the gifts were put, he laid hold of ten heads of 
turtle-shell, weighing about twenty pounds, which 
had been previously conveyed, and laid it at our 
feet. Several five-gallon cans of cocoa-nut oil were 
then brought as his subscription. Then the men of 
Mbau, well dressed, one at a time, laid down their 
presents of oil. Then came the ladies of Mbau in a 
body, singing, as they came, appropriate pieces which 
they had prepared, and portions of Scripture. The 
queen gave, I think, three cans of oil, and others 
brought quantities according to their ability and 
disposition. Our coming to Fiji for the second time 
to the work was celebrated in song. The fishermen 
and women, the carpenters, and the youths of Mbau 
came in bodies and presented their offerings. The 
fifty cans prepared to receive the oil which were 
expected to be more than sufficient were soon filled, 
and many more had to be obtained. All was done 
cheerfully and gracefully. The people were clean 
and well dressed. After the collection was over, and 
the oil secured, we adjourned to the chapel to sing, 
give thanks, pray, and hear speeches. In Joeli 
Bulu's speech he feelingly referred to our return, 
and called upon all who, with himself, were heartily 
thankful that we had come back again to lift up 
their hands. The mass of hands held up was 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 185 

gratifying.* Altogether it was a grand sight. The 
change wrought is, marvellous. 

" On the following day, the Viwa Missionary Meet> 
ing was held, to which we were urgently invited. 
Our District Meeting was drawing to a close, and we 
were very busy ; but I got permission to attend, with 
some of the brethren. The people are few, and the 
work has not prospered at Viwa. We went in low 
spirits, but I was very much cheered. The road to 
the chapel was weeded, and the path renewed. 
Forms were fixed in an open space, where we as- 
sembled, and waited for the contributors, who shortly 
made their appearance, well dressed, all alive, singing 
as they came, bringing large yams, pigs, fowls, a 
duck, and many mats and baskets which they had 
made. I was surprised, encouraged, delighted. I 
was the only speaker, and felt quite inspired. All 
listened with very earnest attention." 

It was decided that Mr. Calvert should take charge 
of Ovalau, which, together with Viwa, was in the 
Mbau Circuit. He would have greatly preferred to 
be at Mbau ; but a younger missionary was there, 
and he did not wish to unsettle him. He knew 



* See Joel Bulu : the Autobiography of a Native Minister in 
the South Seas. Translated by a Missionary. Wesleyan- 
Methodist Book Room, London. One of the most perfectly 
beautiful stories of the kind ever written. 



186 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 



Ovalau well, and its peculiar difficulties. All the 
complications caused by the white residents and 
they were very serious had their chief source on 
this island, at Levuka, where most of the whites 
lived. The British and American consuls were here. 
Amongst the now growing number of foreigners 
settled in Fiji, or staying there for a time, were 
some men thoroughly without moral principle, whose 
lives and influence worked disastrously among the 
natives. A growing and murderous trade was esta- 
blished in ardent spirits ; and the missionaries looked 
on with dismay and grief as they saw cases of cheap 
gin landed, bearing the names of merchants well 
known in religion and philanthropy in Europe. 
Here, then, Mr. Calvert came to dwell ; and it was 
like him that he gave up the one little " study " in the 
mission-house to the young missionary, his colleague, 
who had just come out, and put up his own book- 
shelves in his bedroom. 

Very soon after his return he visited the island of 
Maturiki, where his life was in such great peril 
seven years before (p. 153). He opened two large 
and well-built chapels, and was delighted to find 
them filled with attentive congregations. As they 
entered one of these, the people joined in a chant ; 
and, in one who took the lead, dressed in a black 
coat, the preacher recognised the man who had 
violently insisted upon killing him. 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 187 

" He was manifestly ashamed, and could not bear 
to meet my eye. He had an uneasy appearance. 
After the service I went and shook hands with him, 
and said that, as we were both alive, we ought to 
devote ourselves fully to the Lord. He could not 
speak, but appeared deeply humbled. What a 
marvellous change has been wrought in the views, 
principles, and conduct of this people ! " 

To narrate the particulars of Mr. Calvert's life at 
Ovalau would be to give the history of a large part 
of the Fiji mission, and the history of Fiji itself, 
at that period. In every step and every detail of 
the mission he took the most lively and practical 
interest ; and his knowledge of the whole course of 
events from the beginning often enabled him to give 
most important help. In Fijian politics he was an 
acknowledged expert. He had watched, from their 
small beginnings, the growth and complication of 
disputes, which had come to be problems full of 
difficulty and danger; tribal quarrels, threatening 
local wars ; conflicts between native interests and 
the claims of foreign settlers, leading to the visit of 
ships of war, and formal commissions of inquiry, 
before which the missionary acted both as interpreter 
and counsel; and then the harassing, find at one 
time extremely perilous, relations with the Tongans 
settled or roving in the group. Mr. Calvert, in 



188 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

common with the other missionaries, could not be 
what his duty required him to be to the people 
without becoming personally engaged in the dis- 
cussion of all these questions, often travelling far, 
and enduring much in acting as a mediator, and 
always striving to avert war, and bring about well- 
settled peace. There is abundant material in his 
correspondence at this time of great interest ; but it 
would need so much historical statement, and so 
many explanations to make it intelligible, that it 
must be left where it is for the instruction of any 
student who may wish to unravel the tangle of 
Fijian affairs previous to the effectual cutting of all 
knots by the cession of the group to Great Britain. 

The offer of the sovereignty of Fiji had already 
been made to Great Britain, but was, at first, declined. 
After Mr. Calvert's death, Admiral Jenkins, referring 
to this period, wrote : 

"In July and August 1862 I was captain of 
H.M.S. Miranda, taking the message of Sir John 
Young, Governor of New South Wales, declining, on 
the part of Her Majesty's ministers, the offer of the 
sovereignty of the Fiji Islands ; and I well remember 
the valuable assistance rendered to me by Mr. Calvert, 
not only by interpreting and printing in Fijian that 
message, but in settling matters between Europeans 
and the natives. Thakombau, the chief I had to do 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 189 

with, looked to him with respect, and as one they 
could rely upon to give them good counsel and advice. 

"I also well remember the native church at Ovalau, 
built and filled by themselves. After leaving Ovalau, 
I had on board the Miranda the chief of Sarua, 
whose people a fortnight before were said to have 
captured and eaten five men and forty women and 
children. 

" The residence of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert at Ovalau, 
and their influence on the native government, and 
on the white residents, was indeed a great blessing." 

But, exacting as all these matters were, they 
always stood second to the claims of the missionary's 
one great commission. At Levuka, the town where 
he now lived, he found the chapel in a very bad 
condition, and succeeded in building a new one, 
which had the distinction of being the first in Fiji 
having a boarded floor. He also built a church for 
English services, and gathered a congregation of 
fifty white people, while a school was provided for 
their children. At last, also, an impression was 
made upon the wild and turbulent tribe who in- 
habited the mountains in the interior of the island, 
amongst whom Verani was slain, and a number of 
them were brought under Christian instruction. 
As Mr. Calvert records his visits to different parts of 
the group, the recurrence of such exclamations as, 



190 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

"What a wonderful change!" "What hath God 
wrought ! " becomes almost like a refrain of joyful 
praise. 

During this second term in the islands he was 
very closely occupied in the further revision of the 
Fijian version of the Scriptures. The experience 
which he had gained in this work while in England 
had frequently made him feel the need of having at 
hand an intelligent native, to whom nice points of 
construction and expression might be referred. So 
thoroughly did he now take up this work that, 
during the four years, he went carefully through the 
whole of the New Testament eight times. In this 
he found a very valuable helper in a blind man 
named Semi, the Fijian form of Shem. When at 
Viwa more than ten years before, while engaged 
on the same task, he had asked Thakombau to 
recommend to him some one who could help him. 
The king suggested this blind youth, to the 
missionary's no little disappointment. A very few 
experiments, however, proved the wisdom of the 
selection. Shem was found to have in a remarkable 
degree the gifts necessary for the work. He was a 
born poet, and exercised instinctively an exact dis- 
crimination in the choice of terms, while his fine 
musical ear made him detect at once any awkward 
or dissonant construction, as well as any words used 
colloquially with an alternative and sometimes very 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI 191 

objectionable meaning. In those early days when 
Semi was quite young, though he enjoyed the work, 
he sometimes grew tired in it, so that Mr. Calvert, 
reading on industriously, had to call out, " Wake 
up, Semi ! " Now, with more mature powers, larger 
knowledge, and greater zest, he gave most valuable 
aid in the patient and careful revision of the 
Scriptures, particularly of the New Testament. 
Mr. Calvert greatly admired and loved his ready 
helper. 

In December 1863 he again revisited, as Chair- 
man of the whole Fiji District, his old station at 
Lakemba. 

" I preached in the morning, and was pleased to 
see the husband and wife and children sit together 
as families. This is a very great improvement upon 
the old system, when the wife was looked down 
upon, and partook of food if her husband left any. 
In the evening I preached in English to a congre- 
gation of eight persons. Here the missionaries have 
a dozen young married men, who are likely to become 
useful in our work, in a training school. To these 
they pay special attention, in connection with ten 
other local preachers. This is a most effectual way 
of serving the cause of truth, producing great and 
ever-accumulating good. The teachers and local 
preachers from all the towns on the island come to 



192 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

the missionaries on two days a week to receive 
instruction in writing, arithmetic, and theology. 
Having brought with me copies of a new book pre- 
pared by Mr. Moore for our native agents, I met 
the teachers, and earnestly directed their attention 
to it. It consists of definitions of, and Scripture 
passages on, the doctrines of the Bible, and will 
prove very helpful and useful. 

" On Sunday afternoon I heard Matthias Thakau 
preach from Revelation i. 7. The discourse was 
clear, and every part was well confirmed by ap- 
propriate passages of Scripture. I well remember 
him as an active lad, who accompanied and helped 
me on my first visit to the islands of Vatoa and Ono 
twenty-four years ago. He is now teacher in the 
king's town, where he is doing a good work among 
the people generally, and especially among the young 
men. He is a spiritual, cheerful, and energetic 
labourer in Christ's cause, and is useful wherever he 
resides. Such men tell everywhere. He would have 
been recommended as a native assistant missionary, 
but for the misfortune of having a wife who is 
not like-minded with himself. Anywhere a wife 
materially hinders or wonderfully helps a man in 
his efforts to do good. How a man is comforted and 
strengthened when he has a wife who is a co-worker 
together with him, and whose prayers to Almighty 
God prevail on his behalf! However, though this 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 193 

good man is hindered in his position, he aims to 
make the best of it, and his labours are crowned 
with success. And, perhaps, after all, as a catechist 
or teacher in charge of a town or district, he may be 
of more real service than he would be were he elated 
by a higher name. The defective early training, 
and small amount of knowledge and managing ability, 
of these people, even the best of them, are a very 
great drawback to their holding positions of trust 
and responsibility ; and it is extremely difficult for 
them to keep steady and humble when they become 
somebody by being placed over others. As a teacher, 
my friend Matthias recommends religion by his 
countenance and conduct ; but I should like to have 
found his house more orderly than it is. 

" Our work among so many people, placed on 
about eighty inhabited islands, scattered over several 
degrees of latitude and longitude, must be dependent, 
in a great measure, on converted men and women from 
among themselves, who have to assume authority, 
control others, and take a leading position. Our 
District Training Institution will prove invaluable. 
Full attention is paid to the men, and they gain a 
good acquaintance with themselves, and are led to 
act cautiously, respectfully, and judiciously. 

" December 22nd, 1863. It is twenty-five years 
to-day since I first landed in Lakemba. The 
missionaries, king, and chiefs resolved to celebrate 

13 



194 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

our arrival a quarter of a century ago, by requesting 
me to set the first post of their jubilee chapel * the 
first wooden chapel in Fiji for the worship of natives. 
People came in from all the towns, bringing cooked 
food for the occasion. The king sent a goodly portion 
to the mission-house, which was divided among the 
carpenters, native assistant missionary, students, and 
both mission families. 

" At the beating of the drums we assembled in the 
large chapel. Mr. Tait commenced the service, and 
Matthias offered a very earnest and comprehensive 
prayer. Mr. Tait addressed the congregation in a 
rejoicing strain, and then, to my great surprise, 
called upon the king's nephew, Zaccheus, to read a 
long and most kind address to me and my wife (who 
was also present) from the king and people. The 
address was as follows : 

" ' To MR. CALVERT. We rejoice in seeing you 
and your wife to-day. We are grateful to God for 
lengthening out your life to this one day of glad- 
ness. We are inclined to remember your former 
residence here. When you first came to Fiji our 
elders were heathen, and painful things thereby 
frequently came upon you. You diligently taught 
them the Word of God ; but they despised it, and 

* A memorial of the jubilee of the Wesleyan Missionary 
Society. 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 195 

they pained you in many ways. And we, their 
children, express our gratitude for your endurance 
of them. Now, all heathenism is abolished, and we 
serve the true God. 

" ' Behold what has been effected during your 
living in Fiji ! When you first came, chiefs hated 
one another, and disputed, and evil often arose. 
But in this age we each dwell comfortably in his 
own house with our families, and we have no cause 
of anxiety. When you arrived, the young people 
and children were very dark, and there was no book 
for them to read ; but now all the children and 
youths read, and we have the Holy Scriptures as 
" a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path." 
When you first came, there were few indeed who 
worshipped God; but now, in connection with 
Lakemba, we are upwards of four thousand joined 
to the Church, and there is not one heathen on 
Lakemba, nor on any of the lands over which our 
king reigns. We bow before Jehovah, and Him 
only we wish to serve. 

" ' And we have determined to have a good house 
in which to worship God ; and this day we begin to 
build our wooden church. We are very glad that 
you have managed to come to plant the first post ; 
and we beg you will intercede with God on behalf 
of this our work, that good may therefrom arise to 
our land. 



196 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

" ' We have heard that you two are preparing to 
return to England. It is right that you should 
go and see your children ; but we beg you will not 
forget us. When you are comfortably settled 
in England, remember us, and pray for us ; and 
entreat some young ministers to come to Fiji, to 
instruct us in the Word of God. Both of you, go in 
peace, remembering the word of David : " He that 
goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, 
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing 
his sheaves with him." And now we bid you fare- 
well. Our prayers shall follow you, and we will 
prepare to meet you in heaven. 

" ' Signed. On behalf of the chiefs, EDWARD, Tui 

NAYAU (the king), ZACCHEUS 

SOKOTUKIVEI, NATHANAEL SAMANI, 

NAAMAN TAUSERE. 
" ' On behalf of the native agents, 

ISAIAH VATA, JOEL KOROIKATA, 

THOMAS SE. 
" ' On behalf of the Church members, 

STEPHEN BABA, ISAAC KALOU.' 

" I received the address, and with deep feeling 
spoke to the congregation, referring to my arrival 
just twenty-five years ago, to my continuous and 
successful toils for nearly ten years, to personal and 
family afflictions and health, to the glorious fact 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 197 

that a great work of God has been wrought through 
the Circuit, and to the immense help afforded to our 
work throughout Fiji, and even to the distant island 
of Kotumah, by cheerful and hearty labourers sent 
forth from this Circuit. I warned them against 
being led astray by spirituous liquors, or by pur- 
chasing useful goods before they were able to pay 
for them. I urged them to use the earth so abun- 
dantly given to them, by planting sufficient food for 
their own consumption, and for sale, and cotton and 
coffee. I entreated them not to rest without being 
quite clear in their conversion to God, to seek for 
increase of Divine grace, and to walk circumspectly. 
As they had taken a leading and prominent part in 
the spread of Christianity, I expressed a hope that 
the Gospel would be advanced by the people of the 
Lakemba Circuit. 

" On my first arrival, there were two hundred and 
sixty-four Church members in this Circuit, now 
there are four thousand. I baptised twelve adults 
some of rank from the king's town, and two 
children. Three of the chiefs delivered effective 
addresses. 

" We assembled on the site of the new chapel. It 
is to be an octagon building. The width will be 
sixty-two feet, with a six and a half feet verandah all 
round, making the extreme width seventy-five feet. 
The estimated cost is to be twenty-six tons of oil, 



198 JAMES CALVERT OF PUT. 

worth, on the spot, about '600. We sang a hymn, 
composed for the occasion by Mr. Tait, who, on 
behalf of the building committee, presented me with 
a wooden mallet, inlaid with whale's tooth and pearl 
shell, and an iron-wood digging stick, with which I 
set the post with the usual form, and delivered a 
short address to the surrounding multitude. The 
children chanted a piece which they had got up to 
welcome our visit, and gave me their dresses.* 
Nathan Thataki offered an appropriate prayer. The 
people made a contribution of oil, and resolved upon 
a united effort to complete the chapel, free from 
debt, before we leave Fiji ; and they request me to 
come to the opening, should it be finished. All 
went off remarkably well. 

" Inside a charred log of green-heart which will 
be likely to be in good condition when some of the 
children of the past and present race of missionaries 
may be carrying on the work begun by us were 
nicely placed, in a sealed bottle, a Watchman, con- 
taining news of the last Conference, an Australian 
Report and Notice, a Circuit Plan, No. 1 of the 
Fijian Quarterly, edited by the Rev. J. Carey, and 
a statement of the commencement of the mission 



* A Fijian custom in making a complimentary presenta- 
tion, the persons taking part in it having put on an over- 
dress of native cloth for the purpose. 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 199 

at Lakemba, names of foreign labourers, and the 
present statistics of the Circuit." 

After describing a watch-night service that was 
held, he writes on January 1st of the new year : 

" I long for this to be by far the best year I have 
enjoyed and lived. And why not ? The Lord has 
richer and much more abundant blessings in store 
than I have yet had, and He is willing to bestow 
them. He delights in blessing. I shall doubtless 
have a better year than I have had heretofore, if I 
take care to live more fully to God every day and 
every hour, and be mindful to look to and acknow- 
ledge Him in everything, ' and whatsoever I do in 
word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God and the Father by Him,' and 
' do all things without murmuring and disputings ; 
that I may be blameless and harmless, a child of 
God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and 
perverse nation, among whom may I shine as a 
light in the world ; holding forth the Word of Life, 
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have 
not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.' I hope 
to give increased attention to prayer and the Scrip- 
tures. The Lord help and bless us ; and help and 
bless our beloved ones and friends far away ! 

" The close of the old year is celebrated by prepar- 
ing food. Fijians are very fond of a little feasting. 



200 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

The king's principal daughter, to whom I frequently 
gave medicine twenty years ago, when she was nigh 
unto death, in grateful remembrance, gave me a 
pig. She is likely soon to become a class-leader. 
The king sent me two live turtles, and a large 
supply of cooked taro, puddings, fish, and ripe 
bananas ; and afterwards his wife brought from him 
a head of turtle-shell, weighing three pounds and a 
half. He has been very thoughtful and kind during 
our stay, and sent me several pigs, fishes one weigh- 
ing twenty-five pounds fowls, new yams, taro, and 
bananas. 

"January 3rd. In preaching this morning, I 
observed an old man devouring the Word, and evi- 
dently alive to God in his soul, and I called upon him 
to pray. He prays simply and heartily. Formerly 
he was an adept at stealing our poultry, and boasted 
of his cleverness and boldness. After that now 
many years ago he suffered much, and for a long 
time, from simple tetanus, and Mr. Lyth and I paid 
diligent attention to him. Happily, he had no 
friends who cared so much for him as to take him 
out of our hands and put him under Fijian doctors, 
who have to be paid well. He was left entirely to 
us, and we persevered. This was one of the very 
few cases of tetanus we have cured. Zechariah 
Koroi-mata-ni-tuka is a very good case. Who knows 
what good may be obtained and promoted by pro- 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 201 

longing life ? He is now a class-leader, and his 
countenance shows that he is really a happy man. 
Such a man does good every day. He has two boys 
with Mr. Tait. One nurses the child, and amuses 
him well, and milks the goats ; the other, Stephen, 
is steward, and makes bread and cooks first-rate. He 
goes about his work like a little man, and is a great 
comfort to Mr. Tait when voyaging about, making 
cakes and other comforts. Ay, one would almost 
like to be young again, to have a good long term of 
Fijian mission life under the new economy ! How- 
ever, mine must be the rejoicing of a gladdened 
heart, at what has been wrought by the grace and 
providence of God among a people so deeply de- 
graded and long neglected, and at the present state 
and prospects of the work generally. The work 
throughout the Circuit is in a healthy and pro- 
sperous condition, Mr. Tait walking in the steps of 
his predecessor, and keeping all in good order." 

When Mr. Calvert came out this second time, it 
was fully understood and arranged that his stay 
would be short. All his plans were made for return- 
ing at the end of three years ; but the health of the 
Eev. Joseph Waterhouse, one of the most experienced 
and effective of the missionaries, entirely broke down. 
Mr. Calvert immediately decided to remain until the 
next year. 



202 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

In December he attended a school feast at Mbau, 
at which sixteen hundred scholars were present. It 
lasted two days, and was a very successful and happy 
festival. The repeating of portions of Scripture and 
the reading were good ; some progress had been made 
in arithmetic; and the Scripture lessons showed that 
the teachers had done their work well. Thence he and 
Mrs. Calvert went on to Kewa, and then to Kandavu, 
to make a special inspection of the District Institution 
at Richmond Hill for the training of teachers. 

" Mr. Nettleton has entered on his duties most 
heartily. He spends four hours a day in teaching, 
and hears one student preach every week, and meets 
all in class. There are now thirty-five students 
being a much larger number than heretofore ; and I 
hope the number will be increased to forty-two. They 
are healthy, diligent, clean, and nicely dressed, and 
respectful in their behaviour. They read remarkably 
well, and have got on in arithmetic ; are sound and 
well up in the doctrines of Holy Scripture, and preach 
good sermons. In meeting them all in class, I was 
delighted with the clearness and depth of their 
Christian experience. They are truly alive to God ; 
their souls prosper and are in health ; and this, in 
Fiji, as everywhere else, is a great point. My heart 
was gladdened in the class-meeting, and I rejoiced 
greatly to find this Institution the hope of the 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 203 

future in Fiji in full and very successful operation. 
Mrs. Nettleton, having a mind to work, makes good 
use of her eminent qualifications as a teacher, devot- 
ing much time to the twenty wives of the married 
students.* She teaches them to sew, read, and 
write, meets a class, and gives Bible lessons. There 
is a marked improvement in these women, who will 
also be useful in places where their husbands labour. 
Mrs. Nettleton, with the harmonium and piano and 
her voice, teaches the men to sing well, thus qualify- 
ing them for leading the singing, and to teach others 
also when they get into their work. The students 
get healthful exercise by planting a good deal of 
food, so that they will raise nearly all that they 
require when the present abundant crops are 
mature. A considerable quantity of cotton is 
planted ; and one of the gins [machines for sepa- 
rating the seeds from the cotton], generously sent 
to my care by J. Eobinson Kay, Esq., is stationed 
here. By these industrial pursuits the annual cost 
of the Institution will be much lessened, and the 
students will be trained practically to encourage 
industry wherever they go." 

It was now decided that Mr. Calvert should leave 
Fiji when the Wesley returned from her next visit. 

* The students lived in small houses within the Institution 
enclosure. 



204 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

He writes to a friend : 

"At our age, I find we have been quite long 
enough. But it gives one real comfort to come and 
begin work at once, and to feel that the knowledge 
one has of persons and things and language enables 
one to be of service in so many ways. One hardly 
likes to give it all up. I should prefer to be where I 
can best serve Fiji as long as I live; and I know that 
the heart of my good wife is in unison with my own." 

Some one had suggested to him that they might 
settle in one of the Australian colonies. He did not 
think this at all likely, but hoped that, if it were to 
be so, he might then, perhaps, after an interval, be 
able to give another short period of service in Fiji. 

At the beginning of July, after holding the District 
Meeting, he went in the Wesley to visit Eotumah once 
more, where a missionary, Mr.Fletcher, was now placed. 

" I was very pleased with the improved appearance 
of the people as I passed along. They are much 
cleaner than when I saw them fifteen months ago. 
After the service Mr. Fletcher being away preach- 
ing elsewhere I asked the Fijian teacher who had 
conducted it to interpret for me to the people who 
were gathered together ; but, not having been accus- 
tomed to such work, he felt awkward, and had to say 
he could not manage it. But Mrs. Fletcher, who 
was present with her four children, stood up and 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 205 

kindly offered to relieve him and help me. So I 
again had the pleasure of addressing my Eotuman 
friends through a very ready interpreter. ... I took 
with me six or eight months' letters. They just 
peeped into a few, and found that all was well at 
home. After tea, Mr. F. sent to some white men 
living near, and I preached at seven in English. 
My welcome was most hearty. . . . The Church 
membership has increased about two hundred this 
year. Our people now outnumber the heathen and 
Papists. . . . From the number and healthy ap- 
pearance of the children in Eotumah I judge the 
population to be on the increase, which is, I fear, a 
rare thing in the South Seas. The Eotuman s, when 
right in their souls, are likely to go forth as evan- 
gelists to other islands in regions beyond. I met 
my old servant, Kaitu, a Eotuman, who took the 
Gospel to Nukufetau, one of De Peyster's group, 
situate near the line. All the people there are lotu, 
through this instrumentality. He had lately come 
to Eotumah with four Nukufetauans in search of a 
teacher and books." 

He got back safely to Ovalau, and set off the next 
day to Mbau. Two days after 

" Daniel Afu and Joseph Nokilevu, a Tongan and 
Fijian, having been faithful during their four years 
of probation, were ordained. They made a noble 



206 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

statement. The six missionaries present, with Joel 
Bulu, ordained by the imposition of hands, and I 
spoke from the first portion of Scripture read on the 
occasion. I administered the Sacrament to the 
newly ordained men, to the missionaries and their 
wives, who were joined by the king and queen, and 
their eldest daughter a very good woman, and a 
class-leader and by the wife of a devoted native 
missionary. It was a time of refreshing." 

This last episcopal act of Mr. Calvert in his district 
was further memorable as the first instance in the 
mission in which a native missionary had taken part 
in the act of ordination. It was in all respects 
fitting that the first in this service should be the 
saintly and heroic Joel Bulu. 

" On Sabbath, the 2nd of July, I preached my fare- 
well sermon at Mbau. On the 4th I went to Rewa, 
on the 5th to the new station up the river, occupied 
by Mr. Baker, who, after pioneering and faithful 
services in other parts, is our ' Missionary to the 
Interior.' * All were busy at this site on the hill. 
I trust many heathen will soon hear words of salvation, 
and that the work of Christ will spread and prosper. 

* This able missionary, in the prosecution of his work in 
the mountainous interior of Viti Levu, was killed and eaten, 
together with a devoted native teacher who accompanied 
him, the only missionary who lost his life by violence in 
the whole course of this most perilous mission. 



HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 207 

" On the 8th I met Mrs. Calvert, quite well, at 
Kandavu. On Sunday morning I preached in Fijian. 
In the afternoon, Mr. Nettleton preached in English, 
in Mr. White's house, to us and the people from the 
Wesley. On the llth Mrs. Calvert and I went to the 
Eichmond Theological Institution, to pay our last 
visit to Mr. and Mrs. Nettleton, and to bid farewell 
to the students. There will be the full number of 
forty-two this year. In the afternoon I addressed 
them. We had a gracious visitation from on high. 
The appearance of the students, and that of their 
wives and children, was very satisfactory. On 
Wednesday morning I preached to the teachers and 
stewards from the various parts of Kandavu. On 
Thursday morning I found that I had overtaxed my 
strength, by excitement, want of sleep, and labour ; 
and I felt unfit to administer the Sacrament at dawn 
of day to the teachers and local preachers previous 
to our departure. My head was swimming. I had 
a hot bath, in which I lay for some time, and then 
washed over with a bucket of cold water. This 
afforded me perfect relief, as it has done on former 
occasions. I then joined Mr. White and the two 
native missionaries, and we administered to one 
hundred and twenty-seven workers. I gave a short 
address. We felt it good to be there. 

" Before sunrise next morning the sailors were sing- 
ing merrily at the windlass, and the Wesley's bell 



208 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

rang for us. We here went through our severest 
pang in parting. Our wives had a hard struggle, 
and each of us shed many tears, and offered earnest 
prayers on behalf of each other. Our best and most 
faithful servant, who had been with us since our 
arrival, was with us to the last, and was overpowered 
with distress. On the 14th of July we left Fiji. 

" These have been four happy and busy years. We 
feel that we did right in coming back for another 
term of service : and though we are persuaded that 
it is right for us now to leave, to take charge of our 
beloved children, who have been treated with ex- 
treme kindness by numerous friends during the 
whole period of our absence from them, yet we have 
pain and sorrow in parting with brethren and sisters 
and converts, and the work we love so much." 



CHAPTEE VI. 

HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 



209 14 



Busy Occupation in Australia. Voyage Home. Bromley. Work 
for Fiji. For the Bible Society. Offer for Service in South 
Africa. Appointment to Bloemf ontein. Arrival. Boers and 
Natives. Appointed to the Diamond Fields. New Rush. 
The Native Problem. His Work and its Circumstances. 
Removal to the Transvaal. Potchef stroom. Return to 
Kimberley. Address and Presentation on leaving. England. 



210 



CHAPTER VI. 

HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 

ON leaving Fiji Mr. Calvert spent six months in 
Australia. As soon as he landed, he found 
very busy occupation in translation, and in getting 
work printed in time to be sent down to the 
Islands by the earliest opportunity. From Sydney 
he writes : "I think I have hardly ever been 
so continually on full stretch at hard work as I 
have been during my stay here. Two sermons and 
a Sunday School address each Sunday, and several 
night meetings, and long walks during the week, 
and the printing. . . . We shall be hard at it right 
to the last." Much the same sort of occupation 
went on in Victoria, and afterwards in Adelaide, 
where he attended the sittings of the Conference. 

When on board the Yatala, that was to bring him 
home, he wrote to a friend, giving an account of his 
doings before starting, and then of the voyage. He 
describes a ride in burning heat and smothering 
dust to Kooringa, at the great Burra mines. He 

took three services on the Sunday, and attended a 

211 



212 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Missionary Meeting on the Monday, and collected 
20. The next day he travelled twenty-five miles 
further to Clare, and held another meeting in the 
Town Hall. He got back to Adelaide in time to 
attend a meeting to take farewell of the Rev. William 
Taylor of California, who had been doing a very 
successful work in the colony. The hearts of the 
Adelaide people were quite won by Mr. and Mrs. 
Calvert, and, in a few days afterwards, another meeting 
assembled to bid them God-speed. A gold watch and 
chain were presented to Mrs. Calvert, and to him, 

" An emu's egg inkstand, mounted with silver, and 
elegantly got up in Adelaide by a German, with the 
figures of a black man and woman, and a bunch of 
grapes ; also an address written on parchment. A 
large party of friends assembled. Mr. Watsford took 
the chair. Mr. Dunn spoke very kindly of the 
encouragement we had given them, and dwelt 
strongly on my letters to him and to the brethren, 
and on my labours in Fiji. John Colton, Esq., who 
presented the watch and inkstand, was pleased to 
testify to what he and all had felt under my ministra- 
tions, and to the impression mother and I had made 
upon them. Several others spoke, and said that they 
had never seen the mission work in so clear a light ; 
and they had resolved to attend to it much better 
than they had done. I had liberty in thanking the 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 213 

friends, and giving a few words of exhortation, which 
were well received. The ladies then gave mother a 
purse containing the overplus of 12, all saying that 
much more would have been given had they not 
been so hurried. All was done heartily. We then 
went to lunch at a friend's house, and several went 
with us in the train to Port Adelaide nine miles 
and there we parted with them. Others accom- 
panied us in the steamer to the ship. 

" Thus ended our eleven weeks in New South Wales, 
eight weeks in Victoria, and eight weeks in South 
Australia. I left in exceedingly good health, and my 
beloved wife was quite well and strong and happy. 
We have had a very prosperous and happy and hard- 
working sojourn in the Colonies. While in Adelaide, 
we received letters from Fiji. The missionaries were 
astonished at, and most grateful for, the great 
amount of printing I had accomplished in Sydney, 
where I had the poor printers at work all night. . . . 

" I shall expect that the Mission House will allow 
me two years for work that is much required, and 
which no one will ever accomplish while in Fiji. 
However long I may live, I am quite sure that I 
shall, in life and death, be happier should I complete 
a book of New Testament References, and Hunt's 
' System of Theology,' towards the expense of which I 
have 100 in hand. . . . When in England T often 
felt the need of a clever native; and, without 



214 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

naming it to any one, to gain the opportunity of 
consulting natives [in translation work] was one great 
object in my return to Fiji. And I have been 
through the New Testament eight times while there. 
So the Bible Society will not give their money for 
that which has cost nothing. . . . 

" Poor mother has been suffering for two days 
from bilious headache, under which she was very 
patient ; and she was much sympathised with by the 
passengers, who greatly missed her. She is now 
quite well. I seem to enjoy voyaging in these large 
vessels, as I can write and think and read. ... At 
9.30 A.M. and 8 P.M. we have family prayer, con- 
ducted by the Bishop ; and he has service twice on the 
Sabbath. I have family worship forward at 7.30 P.M., 
with the second class passengers and some of the 
sailors, and at 9 and 5 on the Sabbath. Last Sunday 
the Bishop, with many of the first class passengers, 
came to hear me. I expected to have had some 
portion of the services in the saloon, but his lordship 
and the captain wished me to take the other ; and I 
endeavour to carry out my old and valuable principle, 
to make the best of everything, and quietly and 
earnestly labour on in the appointed sphere, trusting 
that God will bless me and make me a blessing." . . . 

" March 22nd. On Sunday last I could not hold 
our 9 A.M. service in the usual place forward on 
deck in front of the forecastle, where many of the 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 215 

sailors attended, and others heard. I went to mid- 
ship, followed by my congregation of second class 
passengers, who preferred this place. I did not like 
it so well, as none of the sailors were present. As it 
rained at the time of our evening service, I proposed 
to go forward at 7, and preach in the forecastle to 
the sailors and any who might attend. When I 
went forward I found a chest well elevated, and 
neatly covered with white calico, on which was a 
champagne bottle with a long lighted candle, and a 
tumbler of water. There was also a sack as a carpet 
to kneel upon, and the sailors, neatly dressed, were 
on their chests all round the forecastle. Many of 
the second class passengers, and some from the 
saloon, were present, and I very much enjoyed 
the opportunity of declaring to a most attentive 
congregation that man ' must be born again.' " 

" March 23rd. After dinner yesterday, Captain 
Legoe wished all to fill their glasses, as the Bishop 
would propose the health and happiness of two of our 
number. In a neat speech, in which he referred to 
our history, our mission to Fiji, and to the respect in 
which all held us, he proposed, ' Mr. and Mrs. Calvert. 
Many happy returns of the day ! ' All joined heartily ; 
and I had to return thanks for the very kind remarks 
which his lordship had made, and express my grati- 
tude to God for the happiness of twenty-eight years 
of married life, and thankfulness that we had been 



216 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

permitted to labour successfully so long in Christ's 
cause abroad, and I suggested that the young people 
on board should take care to be well married. After 
my wife and I had been forward to conduct family 
worship, and when prayer was over in the saloon at 
9, we retired to our cabin, and read Rev. xxii., 
and Hymn 510. And we each poured out our grate- 
ful hearts to Almighty God for His distinguished 
and long-continued goodness to us and to ours ; and 
we prayed that God's choicest blessings might rest 
upon you all ; and that in all our future we might 
cheerfully and faithfully serve Him. I believe our 
future will be ordered of the Lord, and if so all will 
be quite right. Sometimes though my mind is at 
rest I wonder as to our future ; and I hope we may 
not shrink from whatever God may require of us. I 
have some fears lest I should be induced hereafter to 
undertake what I shall not be able to accomplish, 
and thus make a too early and unsatisfactory finish. 
I will hope and try, however, to avoid this. 

" The Yatala Times of next morning reported : 
' Rev. Mr. Calvert's Wedding Anniversary. On 
Thursday afternoon the Lord Bishop of Adelaide 
proposed the health of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert, it 
being the anniversary of their wedding-day. The 
reverend gentleman had endeared himself by his 
noble mission to the Fiji Islands. His work of 
faith and labour of love deserved the highest praise. 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 217 

He had preached the Gospel, and taught the science 
of civilisation, and had done much in correcting the 
translations made by Wesleyan missionaries, having 
carefully read several times over with native teachers 
the Holy Scriptures in the Fijian language. Mis- 
sionary enterprise is connected with the highest 
development of human progress. Commerce and 
civilisation follow the evangelical economy. Such a 
labourer is received into all communities as a friend 
to the barbarian ; and though he may be taken from 
his much-loved work, yet his record and reward are 
on high. The reverend gentleman rose to reply. 
He thanked his lordship and the company for 
drinking his health, and said his married life had 
been happy, having enjoyed each other's confidence. 
As the servants of Jesus Christ, they had aimed at 
faithfulness; and had he another life it should be 
spent in the same glorious cause. So closed the 
twenty-eighth anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert's 
married life." 

" Cape Town, April 3rd After a very comfortable 
passage of thirty-nine days, we landed three days ago 
at this place, where we have much enjoyed our stay 
under the roof of the mission-house and chapel, 
all built together in one block by Barnabas Shaw. 
On Sunday afternoon I addressed all the Sunday 
School children ; and in the evening, to a full congre- 
gation, I gave an address on the Fiji mission. 



218 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Yesterday we went out by train eight miles to 
Wynberg, with a thousand children, and, I suppose, a 
thousand adults, to a Sunday School treat; and a 
real treat we had." 

In the spring of 1866 he settled once more in 
England, at Bromley, in Kent ; and in the following 
year his name appears as a supernumerary ; and so it 
stood up to the Conference of 1871. This meant 
that he had no specific pastoral charge ; but, in his 
own practical interpretation of it, it by no means 
meant a retirement from active work. He was in 
an important sense and in a sense which involved 
much cheerfully rendered labour agent in England 
for the Fiji mission and missionaries. It was a rare 
thing to find him during this period without his 
hands full of translation, or revision, or publishing 
work. A great deal of this was done to meet the 
growing demands of the mission schools, for the use 
of which he procured various apparatus and ap- 
pliances. A large portion of his time was spent in 
frequent travelling throughout Great Britain and 
Ireland, pleading everywhere on behalf of the 
mission cause, using the ample stores of his own 
experience and observation as the most effective of 
all advocacy. 

To the furthering of the interests of the British 
and Foreign Bible Society he gave himself with an 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 219 

unfailing enthusiasm. In this he was moved, not 
only by seeing the unanswerable claims which that 
great Society had upon all the churches, but by a 
profound sense of gratitude. It had given timely 
and most generous help again and again to his own 
beloved Fiji ; and he knew, and rejoiced to acknow- 
ledge, that the mission there, like other missions all 
the world over, had become dependent on its aid for 
its most essential means of progress. So he went 
up and down the country, regardless of all denomi- 
national prejudice, or narrow churchisms, setting up, 
wherever his frank, hearty presence came, a living 
centre of evangelical union. Bigotry must indeed 
have been inveterate if it could withstand the quick 
warmth of James Calvert's " simplicity and godly 
sincerity," as he enforced the Christian duty of 
joining in the work of circulating the Word of God. 
After six busy and happy years at Bromley there 
opened an entirely new, and wholly unexpected, 
chapter in Mr. Calvert's history. In 1872 a very 
earnest appeal was made to the Wesleyan Missionary 
Committee to send out men of administrative ex- 
perience to reinforce certain Missions in South 
Africa, and, in particular, in the Orange Free State. 
It is doubtful whether this appeal would have even 
come to Mr. Calvert's notice had not his mind and 
his affections been just then much drawn to Bloem- 
fontein. In 1869 his second daughter had gone 



220 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

thither for the sake of her health. The news con- 
cerning her was not hopeful. She was tended with 
the most loving care in the home of the Rev. James 
Scott ; but her father and mother had a great long- 
ing to be with her, and Mr. Calvert put himself at 
the disposal of the Committee for service in the 
Bloemfontein District. Of course his offer was very 
gladly accepted. Preparations were being hastened 
to enable them to go out as early as possible after 
the Conference of 1872, when a letter came from 
Mr. Scott telling them of their daughter's death. 
Mr. Calvert was at once set free from his engage- 
ment. But he and his devoted wife, having been 
led to give themselves again to foreign work, re- 
fused to draw back, and renewed their offer, with 
this difference, that they declared themselves ready 
to go wherever the Committee judged they could be 
of most service. It was decided that, after all, Mr. 
Calvert should be sent to Bloemfontein ; and the 
event proved the wisdom of the arrangement. Those 
who knew him best had seen for some time that 
the unabated fervour of the old missionary spirit in 
him was making him restless in his position of com- 
parative retirement. He was in his sixtieth year, 
and he knew that neither he nor his wife could 
again stand the work in the South Seas. The 
opening now made was singular, and altogether 
unusual. In a climate that would not tax his 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 221 

strength, there was work waiting, in the doing of 
which his age, carrying with it ripeness of charac- 
ter, and large experience, would be a chief quali- 
fication. Thus it was that, when his many friends 
and few men had more thought that he had 
settled down to a well-earned rest, he went to 
Africa. 

He crossed the Orange Eiver on December 17th, 
and reached Bloemfontein on the 20th. The 
veteran missionaries for the title belongs as much 
to Mrs. Calvert as to her husband with their third 
daughter, who had accompanied them, thus found 
themselves in the home whence their beloved one 
had passed away; and the strange land seemed 
hardly strange to them as they bowed in the 
household worship in which she had so often joined. 
An early visit was paid to the little graveyard in 
the outskirts of the town ; and then, forthwith, to 
work. 

The conditions and circumstances of the work 
were, of course, all new. In the Free State Mr. 
Calvert found himself in foreign territory. The 
government and the language were Dutch. There 
was a considerable English community of merchants 
and traders, and an Episcopal and a Wesleyan 
church. But all besides was Dutch; and, for the 
first time, he came into contact with the Boer 
element. It is true he had very little to do with 



222 JAMES GAL VERT OF FIJI. 

the Boers ; but during his stay among them his 
long-practised powers of observation helped him to 
gain valuable knowledge of a people, strikingly 
peculiar in their modes of thought and habits of 
life, whose religious opinions and political influence 
must be understood by any one who would take 
an active interest in South African affairs. Then 
almost everywhere were the natives. From his 
first landing at Cape Town Mr. Calvert had in- 
stinctively given his attention to these. They 
were very different from those other dark people 
among whom his life had been spent, and his 
ready command of the musical Fijian tongue did 
him no service here. From first to last, while in 
Africa, this bar between him and the native people 
was a trouble to him. He was too old to begin 
learning another language. But he lost no oppor- 
tunity of showing his lively missionary interest in 
the original sons of the soil, and of warmly urging 
all young missionaries to lose no time in mastering 
the native tongues. 

His stay at Bloemfontein was very short. At the 
District Meeting, held in January 1873, he was 
appointed to superintend the Diamond Fields and 
New Rush Circuit, where he arrived in the beginning 
of April. A man who had spent his life in minister- 
ing in a highly organised church at home would 
have found himself much perplexed by the state of 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 223 



things at the Diamond Fields. That which was to be 
Kimberley had just come into existence, under the 
title of New Rush, not growing from small begin- 
nings, as towns usually grow, but made suddenly by 
a "rush," which, with a magical rapidity, brought 
twenty thousand people together in one spot. Some 
years before, diamonds had been found along the 
banks of the Vaal River, and an almost exclusively 
male population of ten thousand was drawn together 
there from many lands. Then, in 1870, the news 
went round of a new " find " further south, between 
the Vaal and Modder Rivers, and the " rush " followed 
immediately which made Kimberley. In a barren, 
parched desert, there spread out a vast irregular en- 
campment around Dutoitspan and Bultfontein, where 
a rare building of wood or iron, standing here and 
there, was a very palace amidst the universal canvas. 
What were called streets stretched shelterless beneath 
the burning sun, deep in hot sand and dust. Of 
water there was but little, and what there was was bad. 
The common necessaries of life could be got only at 
fabulous prices. As anything like organised sanitary 
provisions and precautions was, as yet, out of the 
question, it naturally followed that the unwholesome 
conditions of life, often terribly aggravated by reck- 
less drinking, made this new settlement of diggers a 
hotbed of fever. Everything was almost incredibly 
dear ; but money was plentiful, and was freely 



224 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

squandered in indulgence of the worst vices of the 
world's great cities. The population was made up 
of many nationalities, amongst which the British 
element was most numerous ; while a great deal of 
the labour was supplied by men of various native 
tribes, some of them coming from immense distances. 

When our mission party came on the ground, the 
original disorder had already begun to yield to 
Government control. Kespectable merchants had 
settled with their families in the new town, some 
from the colonies, and some from other lands. 
Houses having some claims to be reckoned per- 
manent and comfortable had been built, and churches 
and schools had been erected. If the community 
had, to a lamentable extent, the impatient and 
thoughtless sins of youth, it had also young vitality, 
and strength, and' hope. 

Into this busy multitude of eager diamond-seeking, 
money-making people, Mr. Calvert came, taking up 
the new work with all the old ardour and devotion. 
He saw at once that the population was too mixed, 
and too much wanting, as yet, in cohesion, to be 
wrought upon in masses, and that, however great the 
task, his ministry must be very largely addressed to 
individuals. So forthwith he and Mrs. Calvert became 
known as genial and welcome visitors in the homes 
of Kimberley, whether beneath roofs of iron, or 
canvas, and most frequent and most welcome visitors 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 225 

where there was sickness and trouble. There are 
yet people belonging to the old digging community 
of those days who talk about this kindly, faithful 
service with affectionate gratitude. 

The missionary problem, presented by the con- 
dition of the native races as he came into contact 
with them, caused Mr. Calvert much anxious con- 
sideration. When he had been a few months on 
the ground, he wrote : 

"The native work in this country will, I fear, 
become more and more difficult. It was a great 
relief to us in Fiji that we were able to make all 
speak one language.* Here it is impossible. On 
these Fields we have natives speaking many 
languages, not understanding each other at all, and 
altogether heathen. They are allowed to live here, 
and go about almost naked. Though, professedly, 
canteen-keepers are not allowed to sell to the natives, 
yet very many are drunk. They exist in tents ; and 
how life is kept in them this cold weather, just 
lying on the ground, is a puzzle. After remaining 
awhile here, well paid, and some of them, no doubt, 
stealing diamonds from their employers, they buy 



* There were several distinct, but not widely different, 
dialects in the Group. The missionaries decided to adopt the 
Mbau dialect ; and the result fully proved the wisdom of this 
decision. 

15 



226 JAMES CALVER1 OF FIJI. 

muskets and ammunition, and then return to their 
own country, in various directions, and to consider- 
able distances, having learned new vices, as well as 
how to sort and dig for diamonds. I yearn over 
them, but seem unable to benefit them. We have 
native services in the Dutch, Kafir, and Sesuto 
languages, and have some valuable local preachers 
working for their employers, and some digging and 
sorting for themselves in a mound where the diamonds 
are small and few ; and we have some consistent 
church members among them. Just now, the Kafirs 
and other natives have purchased a canvas English 
chapel ; and some Dutch-speaking natives from the 
Cape, who will not worship with the other inferior 
Africans, have erected a new canvas chapel at their 
own cost, which I opened free of debt on Sabbath 
last." 

The yearning of which he speaks caused the old 
missionary some little trouble. The colonials, and 
other white people around him, found it very diffi- 
cult to appreciate his feelings in this matter, as he 
also found it impossible to adjust his missionary 
instincts to the colonial standard. On one occasion, 
to save himself a walk of three or four miles, he had 
told some natives, who were willing to do that 
which was lawful and right in their domestic re- 
lations, to come to the English chapel to be married. 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 227 

Anxious to come as near as they could to the civilised 
fashion, they appeared at the appointed time in seven 
or eight carts, drawn by two horses apiece. Hereupon 
followed a panic, and it was declared that the white 
people would not come to worship in the chapel if 
it came to be known that " niggers " had been 
married in it. Mr. Calvert hastened to take on 
himself all the blame of this unintentional outrage 
upon white Christianity, and said that he would 
marry the couples in his own house. " Whereupon," 
he says, " the poor fellows again entered their carts, 
and drove eighty or one hundred yards to my 
house, where I married them. I felt humiliated, 
but patiently submitted and endured." 

In a letter to a friend he gives some description 
of his work and its surroundings. 

" Each of us has plenty of very good employment, 
and a heart to enter into it ; and we feel happy in 
our position and service. The population is very 
various and large. I have two or three services 
every Sunday, with good congregations. On Monday 
night I have a class of hearty members, at which 
we muster twelve or thirteen regularly. On Tuesday 
I hold the prayer-meeting, when we have a goodly 
company. On Thursday night I preach alternately 
here at the West End and East End. I also go to 
our chapel at Dutoitspan, not quite three miles 



228 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

away. ... Of course our expenses are rather heavy 
water, 6d. per 30 gallons ; water for horse, 3cZ. 
a day ; a cabbage, 2s. 6d. to 5s. ; eggs, 4cZ. to 6d. 
each ; butter, 3s. to 5s. a pound. Meat is pretty 
good and quite reasonable. A small loaf of bread 
is Is. We have no pence here nothing less than 
3cL or Qd. That saves trouble. In every place of 
any size in this country there is a market every 
morning, and vegetables, eggs, corn, firewood, 
forage, poultry, etc., sold by auction by the market 
master." 

He stayed nearly two years at Kimberley, having 
many cheering proofs that his work was successful. 
The arid climate and the peculiar conditions of life 
were, as he says, trying. 

" But I do not feel it right to hurry away. It is a 
grand sphere for labour, and we get on remarkably 
well with our large congregations and with all 
classes. It is most desirable to do all we can to 
retain the hold we have upon all ranks, and to 
maintain the position we have gained." 

But, while he was thus willing to remain, new 
work was being made ready for him elsewhere ; 
and he was directed to go still further North, and 
to cross the river into the Transvaal. In February, 
1875, he arrived at Potchefstroom, where there 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 229 

awaited him a state of things demanding the ut- 
most prudence, and tact, and firmness. It is not 
too much to say that there was committed to him 
the control and piloting of an almost wrecked 
Church. He very soon proved to those who coun- 
selled his appointment that their trust in his 
sagacity and administrative skill was well grounded. 
During his residence of about sixteen months in 
Potchefstroom, he saw peace restored, and the chapel 
built, which had long stood unfinished. When he 
and Mrs. Calvert left, the people thankfully acknow- 
ledged that their character and their work had been 
the means of bringing about the well-being of the 
Church, and had left in their homes lasting memories 
of grateful love. 

The special work for which he went to Potchef- 
stroom having been accomplished, he set out thence, 
on June 6th, 1876, for the Natal Colony, accom- 
panied for seven miles by a number of friends. 
Then they all outspanned, and had " a sumptuous 
breakfast together on the ground." Pietermaritz- 
burg was reached safely in due time. About two 
years were passed here and at Durban without any 
incident calling for special record. 

Things at Kimberley had not been doing well, 
and a strong wish was expressed that Mr. Calvert 
should again take charge there. His own family, 
of whom there were now several in South Africa, 



230 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

discouraged the proposal, especially on the ground 
of Mrs. Calvert's health, which had failed seriously 
during their residence in the Transvaal. But the 
claims of the work seemed so urgent that they 
consented to go. He thus came to the Diamond 
Fields once more in October 1878, and JMrs. Calvert 
followed about six weeks later. They were left in 
no doubt about their welcome, and were received 
with the warmest affection. They knew the place 
well, and all the peculiar conditions of the work 
there. In a very short time the Church was once 
more healthy and prosperous. It was said that, in 
those days, no figure was more generally known in 
Kimberley than that of Mrs. Calvert, riding alone on 
horseback in all parts of the "camp," in the very 
early morning, visiting and helping the sick and 
the poor. In addition to his Circuit affairs, Mr. 
Calvert had put upon him, for a time, the duties 
of Acting Chairman of the whole Bloemfontein 
District. 

He loved his work, and was much encouraged by 
the evidence of success. To the large mixed native 
population at the Diamond Fields he gave his most 
earnest and sympathetic attention. He regularly 
preached to them by means of an interpreter, and 
procured the building of chapels and schools for their 
benefit. But, while he had as good heart for the 
work as ever, he was forced very unwillingly to 



HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 231 

acknowledge that his long service was telling upon 
his strength. In 1879 he wrote : 

" I came here at the risk of my health, and even 
life, for a short term only, in an extreme and urgent 
case. I have done my utmost to get things round, 
and the Lord has prospered my endeavours beyond 
my utmost hopes, and I am very thankful to Him 
for His great blessing. Last summer I very nearly 
failed, and it is increasingly manifest to me and to 
others that I cannot with any safety undertake the 
work here another summer." 

Mrs. Calvert's health also was greatly impaired, 
so as to cause him at times much uneasiness. There 
were difficulties, however, in the providing of a 
successor, and he stayed on until the close of 1880. 

When it. became known that he was about to take 
a final farewell of Kimberley and South Africa, the 
grateful love of his Church and congregation found 
expression in a public meeting, at which an address 
was presented to him and Mrs. Calvert, bearing 
thankful witness to the value of their work, and 
accompanied by a purse of two hundred and fifty 
guineas, to which many of the natives had contri- 
buted. Most touching of all was his parting with 
the native people, many of whom wept like children, 
asking why " the great fathers across the sea were 
taking their father from them " ? 



232 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

The Triennial Meeting, held at Queenstown, 
June 1880, made the following record in its General 
Letter : 

"We affectionately commend to the Committee 
our honoured and dearly beloved brother, the Kev. 
James Calvert. South African Methodists will not 
forget his constant zeal for their welfare, and the 
ready self-denial with which he consented to defer 
his return to England, that he might serve them in 
a time of perplexity and need. His resumption of 
the work at the Diamond Fields, and his valuable 
service there, have further endeared him to his own 
brethren ; and his now completed missionary career 
will long be treasured in the grateful memory of the 
Methodist people at large." 

He once more returned to England in April 1881. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE LATER YEARS 



233 



Torquay. Death of Mrs. Calvert. Should Missionaries be Married ? 
Penjerrick. Croydon. Gift to the Mission Fund. Fijian 
Jubilee. Bible Pictures. Last Voyage to Fiji. Journal. 
Tonga. Fiji. New Zealand. San Francisco. Across 
America. New York. Home. Speech at City Road Chapel. 
Sevenoaks. Missionary Conference of 1888. Marriage. 
Hastings. Bible Society. Work for Fiji. Conference at 
Nottingham. Temperance. Failing Health. Services in 
Hastings. Last Public Act. Last Letter. Last Scripture 
Reading. Last Illness. Funeral Service. Testimony of the 
Rev. John Walton. A Portraiture. Memorial Sketch by the 
Rev. William Arthur. 



234 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE LATER YEARS. 

ONCE more at home, although much shaken in 
health, Mr. Calvert cheerfully responded, as 
far as his strength would permit, and sometimes 
beyond his strength, to the many appeals that were 
made to him for help as a missionary advocate. 
Within a few days of his arrival he received an 
enthusiastic welcome at the annual meetings of the 
"Wesleyan Missionary Society. At one of these he 
told of what he had seen in South Africa, and 
insisted strongly on the need of a much larger 
employment of native workers in all our missions. 
In this speech he gave the first public hint that, old 
as he was, there was still an irrepressible longing in 
his heart to see his beloved Fiji once more. The 
following declaration, made in speaking of the work 
of the Eev. Peter Hargreaves, who also had recently 
returned from South Africa, and was present at the 
meeting, will be recognised by all who knew the 
speaker as very characteristic. 

"The cheapest and best way of really and per- 

235 



236 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

manently benefiting men is to Christianise and save 
them from sin, and from the evils and lusts which 
produce wars and calamities. Christ made no mistake 
when He died to save our race, and required His Gospel 
to be preached to every creature. Men like our 
brother do much more to prevent war, and keep the 
people industrious and right, than large and costly 



armies." 



For the next few months his journal is little more 
than an itinerary, merely giving the names of places 
all over the country visited in his frequent journeyings, 
until September, when, as far as it was then possible 
for him to settle anywhere, he settled down at Torquay. 
This place had been chosen on account of Mrs. Calvert's 
health, which, after many years of remarkable vigour, 
was now quite broken. She who had spent her life, 
with lavish liberality, in ministering to others, must 
now rest passive in the hands of those who tended 
her with reverent love, and mourned as they saw that 
the old power of recovery was gone, and that she 
steadily grew weaker almost day by day. So the 
months passed, and the new year had but just come 
in, when James Calvert was left without the com- 
panionship which, for nearly forty-four years, had 
enriched and strengthened his life, and lightened, 
in sharing, all his toil. 

Mrs. Calvert was an ideal missionary's wife ; one 



THE LATER TEARS. 237 

of a host of noble women who have done service, 
often unrecorded, but beyond all price, in the work of 
the Gospel among the heathen. Passing it by alto- 
gether as a question of ecclesiastical dogma, the 
employment of a celibate clergy in mission work has 
much to recommend it on economical grounds, 
though, probably, not so much as at first appears. 
In the case of married missionaries the risk of life 
and health is doubled, perhaps more than doubled, 
as the woman's health is more likely to fail, in the 
frequent conditions of mission life, than that of the 
man. Thus it has very often come to pass that his 
active service abroad has been interrupted in conse- 
quence of her sickness, just when that service was 
most effective. The number of such cases can be 
exactly counted. But we have no means of reckoning 
the far greater number of men whose service has not 
only been prolonged, but made far more efficient, by 
the refuge of a home, and the solace and strength- 
ening of a loving fellowship. No one can rightly 
appreciate this help who has not felt the terrible lone- 
liness of living amongst people with whom, not only 
religiously, but socially and mentally, there are 
scarcely any points of common experience, and where, 
in regard to the supreme and intensely felt interest 
of his life, he finds no sympathy at all. In the 
buoyancy of the first youthful period of the work, this 
depressing and enervating influence can be more 



238 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

readily surmounted than in the after years, when 
there is but little reserve of surplus spirit beyond the 
demands of the daily toil. But there is a yet more 
positive reason why the man who is a missionary 
should avail himself of God's own provident order, 
and seek a help who shall be meet for him in his high 
calling. In all the many things intimately belonging 
to the woman-life, she becomes a teaching priestess 
of the kingdom of God. Take the mere fact of the 
setting up of a Christian home in one of those Fijian 
islands a complete home, with no domestic feature 
wanting, though many a domestic comfort might not 
be there. What an effective revelation of the 
Christian religion, showing, better than any word- 
teaching, what family life ought to be, in its loves and 
cares, in its duties and relations, and what it can be 
under the benignant influence of the Gospel. In all 
this most essential part of the teaching of applied 
Christian truth Mrs. Calvert greatly excelled; and 
her self-devoted toil therein added very greatly 
indeed to the efficiency and success of her husband's 
work ; while her clear good sense in counsel had been 
a strength to him throughout his course. And now 
the long, close, faithful fellowship in the service of 
the Gospel had come to an end. 

In the early part of this year he was taken very ill 
at Plymouth, while on his way to Penjerrick with his 
daughter ; but a week's rest in that restful and most 



THE LATER YEARS. 239 

beautiful home, and the kind care of its mistress, 
whom he very highly esteemed, did him great good. 
To Miss Fox, as well as to many other members of the 
Society of Friends, he was closely attached ; and the 
Journals and Letters of Caroline Fox was a book in 
which he greatly delighted, and which he presented 
to many of his friends. Miss Fox, in writing about 
him, speaks of " his beaming, happy presence, which 
was so remarkable a part of himself, and such an 
invitation to the Christian life." From the old 
Woodbridge days onwards some of his most valued 
friendships were formed amongst the Quakers. 

He now removed to Croydon, where he lived for 
four years, taking part, with characteristic energy and 
liberality, in all Church-work, and, as elsewhere, 
gaining the lasting love of many. 

During the Missionary Anniversary in the spring 
following Mrs. Cal vert's death, there took place, as the 
official report says, " one of the most memorable 
meetings ever held in Methodism " ; and those who 
were present will not consider this to be an exagge- 
rated description. The debt of the Missionary Society 
had grown to a very large amount ; but a grant from 
the Thanksgiving Fund, and some munificent special 
donations, had reduced it to 8,000. At the Break- 
fast Meeting on April 29th, it was proposed that an 
attempt should be made then and there to meet half 
of this balance. The proposal was taken up very 



240 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

warmly, and the 4,000 were promised on the spot. 
In the course of the meeting, Mr. Calvert referred in 
a very few words to his recent work in South Africa, 
and told how, on his leaving Kimberley, the people 
had presented to him an address, which he should 
always keep ; but they had also given him a purse 
of 250 guineas ; and he now begged to hand over 
that amount, in memory of his late beloved wife, to 
the funds of the Society, in aid of the effort then 
being made. 

During the next three years he was busily occupied 
in much travelling as a witness and advocate on 
behalf of the missionary cause, and of the Bible 
Society. This brought him into many homes, where 
he was a welcome guest, and formed many close 
friendships, which he greatly prized, with Christians 
of all Churches. Whatever else he did, his one chief 
and constant occupation was in the service of his 
beloved Fiji. He was never happier than when 
superintending publications, executing commissions, 
and sending out supplies for the use of the mission 
there. And all this time, and long before, there 
was the strong desire in his heart to see Fiji once 
more. Mrs. Calvert had opposed it. It was im- 
possible for her to go with him, and she dreaded 
his taking so formidable a journey alone. Before 
her death, however, seeing how he hungered to go, 
she withdrew her opposition, "whenever the way 



THE LATER TEARS. 241 

should be clear." The meaning of that condition he 
did not see at the time. Her death interpreted it. 
But after the great loss his health was in a vefy 
unsatisfactory state; and for a time his cherished 
project seemed to be hopelessly put aside, for he 
believed that his own end was near. He was now 
living in Croydon. By the end of 1885, however, 
he had recovered much of his strength and energy. 

This year was the fiftieth since the coming of the 
first missionaries to Fiji, and a great Jubilee celebra- 
tion took place in the Islands accordingly. It need 
not be said that Mr. Calvert took the most lively 
interest herein. There had been a very strong 
desire expressed for a large illustrated edition of the 
Bible in the native tongue; but this great under- 
taking was found to be impracticable. The Eeligious 
Tract Society had published a quarto volume of 
Bible pictures for the young. Mr. Calvert, seeing 
that this would be the next best thing, applied to 
the Committee of the Society, and met with a ready 
and generous response. They put the whole of the one 
hundred and thirty-seven blocks at his disposal, and, 
in addition, gave 50 towards the cost of publishing 
a Fijian edition. This he set to work, with great 
delight, to prepare. All the Scripture quotations 
were given in Fijian ; and an edition of six thousand 
copies was published, under the name Ai Vakata- 
karakara ni Veika e nai Vola Tabu, literally 

16 



242 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Pictures of Things in the Bible. It gave immense 
delight, and was eagerly sought after. This was the 
old missionary's preface, done into English. 

" To YOU MY FRIENDS : I rejoice that fifty years 
are nearly ended from the time that Christianity 
began in Fiji. And I am glad that you intend to 
commemorate that great event with rejoicing and 
with gratitude to Grod. With you I am greatly 
delighted on account of the great work of the Lord 
that has been effected in all the islands of Fiji, on 
behalf of the numbers who have been saved, and 
have gained the Rest, and abide with Jesus ; and also 
on account of the very many who now live spiritually, 
and are earnestly following the Holy Book. And, 
moreover, I exult greatly, and am heartily thankful 
that great numbers help well in the work of the 
Lord in Fiji, and in other lands. The fruit of 
Christianity in Fiji is remarkably clear. Had it 
been easy I would have come to you, that we might 
have been gladdened together at the Jubilee, yours 
and mine, which will come to pass on October llth, 
1885, that you and I might have celebrated together 
the landing at Lakemba of the first two missionaries 
on that day in the year 1835. But as I cannot 
easily manage to come to you, I have prepared this 
book, that it may be my substitute. I am persuaded 
you will like it, and also that it will be useful to 



THE LATER TEARS. 243 

you. I pray that Christianity may continue to 
prosper well in all Fiji, in every age ; and that you 
and I may sit down hereafter in the good land above, 
with all the saved from all the world. Amen. My 
love to you all." 

Mr. Calvert here speaks of his visiting Fiji again 
as too difficult for him to accomplish; but the 
longing for it was so strong that it could not be 
mastered. The idea which had been almost con- 
stantly before him for some years, he now, in 1886, 
determined to carry out at his own cost. His family 
and many friends might well have grave misgivings 
at the thought of a man of seventy-three under- 
taking a journey round the world alone ; but, in his 
bright, cheery way, he put aside their fears, and 
set about his preparations for the voyage with the 
alacrity of youth. 

On May 20th, 1886, he started on board the 
P. & 0. steamer Ballarat. His journal shows a 
very lively interest in all the incidents of the voyage. 
Formerly he had gone by a sailing vessel round the 
Cape. Now all was new to him. From the captain, 
who was a devout Christian man, he received great 
kindness, and by his request conducted worship, 
morning and evening, on the Sundays. He read a 
good deal on the voyage, and before he reached Fiji 
went through the whole of the newly Ke vised English 



244 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Bible. On the Ked Sea he gave a lecture, probably 
on Fiji, "which," he says, "went off well." The 
unique character of this visitation tour gives it so 
peculiar an interest, that the copious extracts from 
the journal given below will certainly be welcome. 

" June 7th. Still in the Red Sea, but freed from 
the severe oppression which many have to endure. 
The captain kindly offered to read the Lesson at the 
service yesterday morning. At five, I held our short 
service, reading one Lesson, and giving a short address, 
occupying altogether forty minutes. A prolonged 
service on board ship is always objectionable, and it 
could not be endured in this climate. The captain 
had compassion on me after the morning service, 
and dressed me up in one of his white jackets. This 
was a great relief." 

" 8th. Aden we pass, and run on to Colombo. 
To-morrow the monsoon is expected to be on us. ... 
This route through the Eed Sea keeps us long in the 
tropics, and is trying ; but I stand it remarkably well. 
The most gorgeous sunset I ever remember seeing 
a token that we shall soon have the monsoon." 

" 10th. During the night strong winds came up. 
The portholes all closed. The thermometer im- 
proved, from 92 to 81. ... After we passed the 
Island of Sokotra the waves increased. Throughout 
the day we have had a pleasant breeze, saving us 



THE LATER TEARS. 245 

from the oppressive heat. I have kept quite well ; 
no touch of sea-sickness. And I have had the 
privilege of waiting upon some sufferers, who are 
most grateful for little attentions. All wonder to 
see me so brisk. Still I judged it prudent not to 
stick too closely to reading and writing." 

" llth. A very blessed Sabbath yesterday. Ser- 
vices enjoyable at 10.30 and 5 o'clock. Lady 

has read some books I lent her ; but she has a taste 
for novels. That destroys, or at least deadens, the 
taste for good books. She has a great difficulty in 
herself. How sad that those who are enlightened 
by the Word and Spirit of God, and have good 
desires and purposes, do not fully decide for God ! 
' Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' The captain 
is a practical Christian, and a Yorkshireman. He 
is specially delighted with Arthur's Tongue of 
Fire." 

" IQth. After a rough and rainy night we 
anchored at Colombo early yesterday morning. 
After breakfast I landed and went to Colpetty, to 
the Rev. J. Scott's. At his house I slept. We 
visited the schools, Wesley College in Colombo, a 
girls' boarding school in Colpetty, and day school, 
the Bible and Tract Depot, of which Mr. Scott is 
secretary, his large printing office, where he prints 
the Bible for the Bible Society and books for the Tract 
Society, and his schools. He also casts type, and 



246 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

takes stereotype plates. He sent out announcements 
for a service for me in the evening, and we had 
a good congregation, who gave me full attention. 
This morning, after a second breakfast at 10 o'clock, I 
went with Miss Fredoux, Dr. Moffatt's grand- 
daughter, to her school in Colombo, for which she 
came here six months ago, and I addressed her 
hundred most clean and very lively girls." 

" 19th. This morning we crossed the Line, and 
are now ploughing on our way through the mighty 
deep in the southern hemisphere, towards Albany, 
King George's Sound, where we hope to be on the 
28th. A clergyman came on board at Colombo. 
I desired the captain to ask him to take both 
services to-morrow. All wish me to continue my 
short service with address in the evening. ... I 
have reached the southern world without the least 
trouble from sea-sickness, which is a terrible dis- 
tress to many. And no headache, and no pain of 
any kind in any part ; uninterrupted health, and 
happy. Truly the blessing of the Lord and His 
smile make rich, and add no sorrow. Every day 
at 6 A.M. I much enjoy my bath. ... I have my 
choice of the baths, as I am generally first." 

"2Iat. Our shortest day; your longest. Sun 
rises at 6.50." 

"25th. We have had it rough for two days. 
Yesterday, in a sudden lurch of the ship, I was 



THE LATER YEARS. 247 

whirled round, and fell with all my weight upon the 
rail, across my shoulders. It startled and shook 
me. Had the blow been elsewhere I might have 
been fatally damaged. We are now nearly out of 
the tropics, and it is winter, and will soon be some- 
what cold. Already warmer clothing is in demand, 
and we are thankful for blankets." 

" 29th. Anchored at Albany, a small town at 
King George's Sound, Western Australia. Our 
minister and his wife, at this dull place, rejoiced 
to see me. We prayed together. He thanked 
God heartily for my visit, and prayed earnestly that 
He would bless, preserve, and prosper me. It was 
good to be with Mr. and Mrs. James, though for a 
short time." 

" July 3rd. At 6.40 A.M. we anchored at Glenelg, 
Adelaide. Met Mrs. Hambly, John Hunt's daughter, 
Chief Justice S. J. Way, the Hon. John Dunn, and 
many of our ministers. Our passengers marvelled 
at the greetings offered me by the many who met 
me, and I very much enjoyed sweet intercourse 
sadly too short with men and women I became 
acquainted with twenty years ago, on whose hearts 
and minds my excellent wife left a lasting and deep 
impression. 

"Adelaide I found to be quite another place, 
wonderfully improved since my former visit. The 
suburbs, to which they drove me, are admirable. Our 



248 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Prince Alfred College, with four hundred pupils, I 
was delighted to see." 

" 5th. Melbourne. We anchored here at 1 o'clock 
this morning. After breakfast I went on shore, 
and met my old friend, John Watsford, formerly my 
colleague in Fiji, a very hearty and successful 
missionary and minister. Here I met the Hon. Mr. 
Berkeley, from Fiji, come to meet his wife, who has 
come, with her children and mother, in the Ballarat. 
He tells me that twenty-five thousand tons of sugar 
have been made in Fiji, and that twenty-five thousand 
bunches of bananas are sent per month from Fiji to 
the Colonies." 

" 7th. Left Melbourne at 7 A.M., having enjoyed 
very much indeed my two days' stay. Brother 
Watsford gave all his time to me, and, without 
grudging, took me wherever I desired. I thus 
found out nearly all my old friends of twenty-one 
and thirty-one years ago, when I formerly visited 
the colony. All gave me a most hearty welcome, 
every one amazed to find me ' hardly changed at all ' 
since they last saw me ; and all desired God's blessing 
on my visit." 

" 9th. Sydney. At 8 A.M. we arrived here, on 
the fiftieth day from England. I was met on board 
by the son of the Kev. J. B. Waterhouse, and by the 
Rev. Dr. Kelynack, who took me to his house on the 
North shore. My point was to see as many of my 



THE LATER YEARS. 249 

friends as I could. So I started off with a young 
man as my guide, and we accomplished wonders. 
I met two Fijian missionaries, the Rev. W. Moore, 
an early labourer, and the Eev. A. J. Webb, who has 
just completed eighteen years' service." 

" 10th. Left Sydney at 11 A.M. bound for Naumea, 
New Caledonia, 1,060 miles distant. We found 
Naumea illuminated, and a ball and dancing all 
night at Government House, and on the Green by 
the natives, closing up a four days' festival." 

" 1 5th. Now in south latitude 22; quite in the 
tropics, but happily in midwinter, if winter can be 
found in the tropics." 

" I9th. We sighted Mount Washington, Na Buke 
Levu, a noted mountain in Kandavu, Fiji, at 5 o'clock 
this morning. It is 2,750 feet high. The moon 
shone brightly. My heart was deeply moved as I 
thought over, with gratitude, and wonder, and joy, 
God's dealings with me during the many years since 
I landed at Lakemba in 1838. 

"At 11.30 we were at Suva, the seat of govern- 
ment, a waste place when I was in Fiji, now quite a 
large town, with steamers, and vessels, and small 
craft at anchor.* This is the sixtieth day since I 
left London. In 1838 I was nearly eight months 
between London and Fiji. I was glad to hear that 

* The cession of Fiji to Great Britain took place in 1879. 



250 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



Mr. Langham, from Mbau, was actually at Suva. On 
landing, I started off in search of him. He was not 
expecting me for a fortnight. As I went up a street 
he observed me with another, but concluded that it 
was a man much too young for me, and so let me 
pass by. He was overjoyed to meet me, and gave 
me the heartiest welcome. Here I met the Kev. 
E. E. Crosby from Tonga. 

"The small steamer Suva starts to-morrow for 
Tonga. Both Mr. Langham and I think I had 
better go in her now to Tonga with Mr. Crosby. So 
to-morrow night we start. She will be back here in 
a fortnight, but I in six or ten weeks, as I may 
find it desirable to remain. 

" The acting Governor, the Hon. J. B. Thurston, on 
hearing of my arrival, sent his private secretary, 
desiring me to take up my abode at Government 
House during my stay. After dinner the Governor 
sent for some trustworthy natives and teachers, who 
knew me. I had a most enjoyable chat with them 
about old times and old friends." 

"20th. At 11 P.M. we left in the Suva" 

"2lst. At 7 A.M. we came alongside the pier at 
Levuka, Ovalau. Here I had resided four years 
(see p. 1 85). The new missionary and his wife, Mr. and 
Mrs. Worrall, gave me an enthusiastic reception. 
We enjoyed a hearty breakfast, after which I had a 
most refreshing bath in a very large wooden bowl, 



THE LATER YEARS. 251 

about seven feet by three and a half, which I sent 
to Mr. and Mrs. Binner about forty years ago. Left 
Levukaat 11 P.M." 

"22nd. Vuna at 9.15 A.M. We were hardly 
two hours on shore, but we got the thirty teachers 
together, and I addressed them. All came neatly 
dressed, and were very attentive." 

"23rd. Anchored at Lomaloma, Vanua Balavu, 
at 12.45. The Eev. J. Chapman has the very same 
Circuit the head of which was then Lakemba, 
eighty miles to windward, where I resided in which 
I spent the first ten years of my missionary life. 
He rejoiced to tell me of numerous conversions in 
this large Circuit of about forty islands, and I was 
gladdened by hearing of them. No one makes any- 
thing out in religion without a real reformation in 
condition, heart, and life. Children and young people 
require this thorough change as much as their fore- 
fathers needed it ; and they must have it as the 
groundwork of right practice." 

" 26th. -Reached Nukualofa, Tonga Tabu." 

It would take too long to tell here the history of 
the rending of the Church in Tonga; and perhaps 
the time has hardly yet come when the whole course 
of events, which wrought woful damage in one of the 
fairest fields of Christian enterprise, can be perfectly 
understood and faithfully recorded. That two 



252 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

churches should have been set up instead of one, 
in the same group, was a result to be lamented; 
but the bitterness of strife and the persecuting 
violence which attended the division were beyond 
measure deplorable. This unhappy state of things 
had made Mr. Calvert the more anxious to visit the 
South Seas. The relation of his own mission to that 
in the Friendly Islands had always been very in- 
timate, and he enjoyed, and greatly valued, the 
friendship of the Tongan king. Being well known 
by both parties, and having never committed himself 
to the position of either, he cherished a kindly hope 
that he might be able to mediate between them. 
After he had been a week on the ground, he 
wrote: 

" Matters here are extremely bad, and seriously dif- 
ficult. The separation is a fully accomplished fact. 
The rent is very great and wide ; party spirit runs 
high. Still the Lord reigneth ; and I trust, by His 
blessing, that I shall be of service in some ways. . . . 
In this very trying position the Lord strengthens 
and blesses me. I trust Him, and cast my care 
upon Him, and pray for His guidance and prospering 
blessing. I am very grateful for His presence, and 
for the openings for useful intercourse He gives me 
with persons of varied views. But, alas ! both sides 
seem determined to have and pursue their own way. 



THE LATER TEARS. 253 

I do my utmost in trying to prevail upon them to 
act with moderation." 

Later on he writes : 

" Were I a younger man, I should consider 
seriously whether there was not a call here for me ; 
but I am quite sure that, at my age, I ought not 
to undertake a task like this." 

This was no mere cheap sentiment. Conversations 
with him both before and after his voyage proved 
how this idea had got hold of him, and how warmly 
he desired the opportunity, at the cost of any self- 
sacrifice, of at least mitigating the evils which had 
come to pass. After spending exactly a month in 
the Islands he left, on August 26th, to complete his 
visit to Fiji. 

" Here I close my visit to Tonga, to which I came 
with a single purpose of trying to do good. While 
here I have been very fully employed, and have had 
much that was not pleasant. I have mixed freely 
with all, and tried hard to bring about good-will, 
freedom, and love. All have shown me respect ; and 
kindness I have had from many." 

It was with a sense of most welcome relief that he 
turned his face once more to the peaceful scenes of 
his own beloved Fiji, which he reached two days 
later, going on to Ovalau, where he passed a very 



254 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

busy and happy week at Levuka. He found here a 
letter awaiting him from the acting Governor, who 
had been obliged to go to Samoa. The Colonial 
Secretary was deputed by him to further Mr. Calvert's 
plans in every way, and the small Government 
steamer was coaled and got ready for his use. 

" September 5th. After I had engaged to preach 
twice in English, the natives and half-castes appealed 
to me not to neglect them ; and I felt compelled to 
meet them for a short service at Levuka at 9 A.M., 
and at Vangandathi at 4 P.M. At 1 1 and 7 o'clock I 
preached in the excellent stone chapel to a very 
good and full congregation in English. After the 
evening service I administered the Sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper. After all was over I was not at all 
weary. I very much enjoyed the services, and all 
were kind and hearty." 

" 9th. Went to Moturiki, landing where the 
attack was made upon me in 1854. Had school 
feasts, and examinations ; and slept." 

From the beach where he passed through deadly 
peril in 1854 he gathered twelve small shells as a 
memorial. On the next day he went to Mbau, and 
saw much to delight him, though his old friend 
Thakombau was no more. In the old dark days he 
had, by his intercession, gained from the king the 
life of a widow, named Bongithewa, who was about 



THE LATER YEARS. 255 

to be strangled at the death of her husband, a Mbau 
chief. It was the first life he had thus rescued ; and 
now he had the joy of meeting the widow once more, 
and found that, for many years, she had fulfilled a 
good and useful Christian course. He crossed over 
to Viwa, where the mission press was still placed, 
as he wanted a paper he had written about Tonga to 
be printed. 

" I helped Mr. Small to set up my paper on the 
Friendly Islands. I wondered that I took so readily 
to picking up the type. By both sticking close to 
work we got through." 

" 26th. Navuloa. The prayer-meeting at 7 o'clock. 
At 9.30 I preached to the students from Acts xvi. 9, 
10, and felt very happy in my work quite at home 
deeming it a great privilege and gracious opportunity 
to address so many who were likely to take a promi- 
nent part in God's work in Fiji in the future. In 
the afternoon Mr. Lindsay preached. In the evening 
we had a prayer-meeting, and I conducted a Sacra- 
mental service, and gave an address to the students 
and others who were present. I was moved by the 
prayer of the native minister, who thanked God that 
they, who had heard of me from their fathers, with 
whom I had lived and laboured, were now surprised 
and delighted to see me. He went on praying, 
beseeching the Lord to have a watchful eye and 



256 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

care over me in the future. I greatly enjoyed my 
three days' visit to this grand training institution." 

" 27th. Mr. Lindsay took me over to Viwa in his 
boat. Here I resided from 1848 to 1855 seven 
years. Here John Hunt, John Polglase, and Joel 
Bulu are buried. The printing plant is excellent, 
and was given by the Tomblesons, of Barton-on- 
Humber, at my request." 

" 30th. Left Suva at midnight in the Arawata" 

" October 2nd. Saturday. We are now five hun- 
dred miles from Fiji, where I have been thirty-eight 
days. All the time I was fully employed, and equal to 
all the demands made upon me. I am very thankful 
to the Lord for all the help and gracious influences 
granted me. I have been much gratified in finding 
how great and how real God's work has been and is 
throughout Fiji ; and I have good reason to believe 
that my visit will, by God's blessing, be of service in 
various ways. By remaining longer, and risking the 
hot months, I do not see that I could do much 
more." 

" 3rd. Sunday. I rose early, and found it profit- 
able. The Bishop of Nelson had to keep his bed 
most of the day. I took the service, by his request, 
at 1 1 o'clock, on deck. We could not have any sing- 
ing. I read the 103rd Psalm, prayed, and preached, 
and was very happy in the service. The Bishop 
thanked me much, he having heard all down below." 



THE LATER TEARS. 257 

" 6th. Auckland, New Zealand. After a smooth 
run from Russell, where we called yesterday, and 
where Bishop Suter and I spent 'a pleasant day with 
a dear old lady, Mrs. Ford, a widow of my own age, 
who ministers comfort to many of all denominations. 
Mr. Philip H. Mason met me on board at 7.30 A.M., 
and took me over in a little steamer to his new 
house at Devonport. With them I am to abide 
until the 12th, when we leave for Honolulu. Im- 
mediately on my arrival I had a visit from a young 
minister from the principal chapel in Auckland, to 
engage me to speak or lecture on Monday night. 
Soon after breakfast I had a minister from each of 
the two other Circuits, asking for a service each on 
Sunday." 

" 7th. To-day I was driven out to Three Kings, 
about three miles, where the Rev. Alexander Reed 
has twelve New Zealanders and five young English- 
men in training for our work. The Lord blessed me 
greatly while addressing first the English, and then 
the natives, and in prayer with all together. 

" I went to the top of Mount Eden, and had an 
extensive and splendid view all around, which much 
surprised me. . . . Spoke at the Home Missionary 
Meeting at Devonport." 

" 10th. Preached in the morning at Devonport, 
and in the evening at Grafton Road. The congrega- 
tions were good, and the Lord blessed us. After the 

17 



258 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

evening service I called in at a large theatre, where 
special services are held by clergymen and others, 
and said a few words on my way back to Devonport." 

" llth. Went to the weekly meeting of ministers 
in the vestry of Spurgeon's Tabernacle. He showed 
me over the splendid structure, where he has a very 
large congregation. At 7.30 we had a Missionary 
Meeting in King Street Chapel, where we had a good 
company. I spoke for an hour. During the day I 
had a very kind letter from my fellow-passenger, the 
Bishop of Nelson, dated from the ' Scene of the 
Eruption.' He is a most amiable man, and we got on 
remarkably well together. My six days in Auckland 
were most enjoyable. All were exceedingly kind to 
me. At the ministers' meeting all were most affec- 
tionate, and listened well to a few words which I said 
at their request. They prayed very earnestly for 
me on my voyage, and also in the hereafter." 

" I2th. Left Auckland in the Mariposa at 5 P.M." 

" I3th. Crossed the meridian of Greenwich, and, 
in order to keep our week and Sabbath right, we 
had to have two Wednesdays eight days in the 
week. The mail steamer which we meet between 
Auckland and Samoa has to lose a day, and have only 
six days in the week. One man who came on board 
at Samoa, having crossed and recrossed the meridian, 
had four Sabbaths in nine days." 

" nth. I had a good congregation at 8 P.M. The 



THE LATER TEARS. 259 

Lord greatly blessed and helped me to deliver His 
saving truth in a straightforward and honest way; 
for which I had hearty thanks and pleasant looks." 

" 23rd. At 10.30 this forenoon we were alongside 
the wharf at Honolulu, 3,833 miles from Auckland. 
We left again at 6.30 for San Francisco, 2,092 miles 
further." 

" 30th. San Francisco at 9 A.M. Seven days from 
Honolulu. The Custom House officer said I had an 
honest face, and he was very lenient, and passed my 
things very easily. I soon found the Methodist 
Book Koom, and the editor of the Christian Advocate, 
with whom I had a good chat ; and then went to see 
something of this immense city." 

" 31st. I heard two sermons from the Rev. Dr. 
Izer, and assisted him with the communion after the 
morning service. He offered me his pulpit for the 
evening, but I judged he was himself specially pre- 
pared, and had been announced. I found my notion 
was correct, when I heard him at night. In the 
afternoon I heard General Howard who lost his 
right arm in the war at the Young Men's Christian 
Association. It was a fine gathering. I was asked 
to lead in prayer ; and was constrained afterwards to 
speak for a few minutes, and had a very good hearing." 

" November 1st. Rose quite refreshed at 6, very 
grateful for my rest of yesterday, and for the past 
night. At 7.15, just off to breakfast, and to prepare 



260 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

for my long journey of 3,461 miles, such as I never 
had before, and never shall have again." 

The notes of the great railway journey record 
experiences that have been frequently described by 
others. He says, after his first night in a sleeping- 
car, that he was tossed about as much as at sea, and 
did not sleep well. He is astonished at the immense 
" ferry boat," which takes the whole train across to 
Benicia. He sees the sights of Salt Lake City ; un- 
expectedly finds there people with whom he has 
links of acquaintance ; and delights most of all in 
taking part in a Methodist prayer-meeting. He is 
surprised and thankful that he has accomplished 
one-third of the journey without suffering from the 
cold. The grand scenery over Marshall Pass, and 
afterwards, rouses him to admiring enthusiasm. He 
rejoices greatly at Denver " to be at the end of the 
narrow, shaky gauge, which robbed me of one night's 
sleep though I had to pay 16s. a night for the 
accommodation." He wakes in time to see the 
crossing of the Mississippi, and on the afternoon 
of Sunday, November 7th, reaches Chicago. 

" Before reaching Chicago, a few of us in the car 
met. I read Romans xii. We sang, ' Take the 
Name of Jesus with you,' and about a dozen other 
hymns, among them ' The Sweet By-and-by,' which 
reminded me of our singing it, with my good wife, 



THE LATER YEARS. 261 

in the Transvaal plains, as we left Potchefstroom in 
1880. 

"Arrived at the Grand Pacific Hotel at 3.30. 
Went in search of a Methodist Episcopal church. 
Soon found the Eev. Dr. Bolton in his study at the 
church. At 6 went to a prayer-meeting there ; and 
at 6.30 Dr. Bolton addressed young men on Purpose : 
' Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not 
defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, 
nor with the wine which he drank.' After the 
service, at Dr. Bolton's request, many testified as 
to their purpose I among the rest." 

Having met the ministers at their weekly meeting 
on the Monday morning, he went on to Niagara, 
where he " spent eight hours among those extra- 
ordinary Falls, going over the bridge into Canada, 
and back, and left for New York at 3.10." 

Soon after reaching New York, he sought out 
Dr. McCabe, drawn to him by his enthusiasm in 
the office of Junior Secretary of Missions. Of 
course, Mr. Calvert was at once requested to tell 
about the Fiji mission, and found, when he had 
done, that all he had said had been reported by 
" the three young lady clerks." Dr. McCabe 
pressed him to remain six months in America, to 
take part in missionary conventions and meetings. 
This was impossible ; but he consented to attend a 



262 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

convention then being held at Waterbury, and then 
to join Dr. McCabe in meetings, which would have 
taken him through Boston, and afterwards to Wash- 
ington. He took part in several meetings at Water- 
bury; and the minister there strongly importuned 
him to remain over the Sunday to help him in his 
work. It was a very great disappointment to Mr. 
Calvert to be deprived of his only chance of seeing 
Boston and Washington ; but as Dr. McCabe set 
him free from his engagements, he yielded, and 
preached on the Sunday morning, and gave a mis- 
sionary address in the evening. The next morning 
he visited the great watch-making works, and re- 
turned to New York, where he was very happy in 
the hospitable home of Mr. Anderson Fowler, the 
son-in-law of the Rev. William Arthur. 

" I enjoyed some services in New York, and inter- 
views with editors, and learned doctors, and bishops, 
and laymen, and women who labour in the Gospel. 
It was delightful to stay a few days in the great 
city." 

On Saturday, November 20th, he left on the 
voyage home, and landed at Liverpool on the 28th, 
just one hundred and eighty-four days since he 
started from London. Out of this time he had spent 
a month in Tonga, nearly six weeks in Fiji, and ten 
days in New York. The rest of the time was 



THE LATER YEARS. 263 

occupied in almost continuous travel, entirely round 
the world. Surely a wonderful achievement for a 
man in his seventy-fourth year. 

On his return his services were in great request, and 
he was soon actively employed again, being eagerly 
welcomed everywhere on Missionary and Bible Society 
platforms. When the Missionary Anniversary was 
held in the following May his presence was a marked 
feature ; and at the adjourned meeting, in City Eoad 
Chapel, he gave an account of the condition of his 
beloved Fiji, as he had lately seen it, and of the results 
of the work in which, almost from its very beginning, 
he had taken a large part. It is interesting to note 
how the troubles and the dangers of the early days 
of that wonderful history are, now that he thus scans 
the whole, lost in the brightness of present success. 
The speech is eminently characteristic. 

" I am deeply grateful to Almighty God for having 
guided me to foreign mission service, and especially 
that He sent me to Fiji, and for the help and bless- 
ing and success He has granted to us. 

" We had no night of toil. God was with us 
from the beginning, and all along, even to the 
present time, and He has ever confirmed His word 
with signs following. Multitudes have been in the 
past and, thank God, still are now convinced of 
sin by the Word and Spirit of God. They bitterly 



264 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

repented of their misdoings and transgressions, 
sought mercy and forgiveness with all earnestness 
and perseverance; and when they were saved by 
grace, through faith in Jesus, many were remarkably 
clear in their enjoyment of the Divine favour, and 
rejoiced greatly in their Saviour and Lord. These 
converts were whole-hearted, and very true and 
faithful. Their thorough change of heart, wrought 
by the Holy Spirit, was manifest to all. They 
became living epistles, read and known by all. It 
is a grand thing anywhere to have persons pardoned, 
renewed, sanctified, made new creatures in Christ 
Jesus; old things passed away, and all things 
become new! This personal Christian experience 
told amazingly upon the dark and simple-minded 
Fijians and it tells everywhere and many felt 
convinced that the religion of Christ was a real power 
and excellence, and greatly to be desired. 

" And as soon as any were converted, and gained 
spiritual life in their souls, they were very earnest in 
prayer and direct effort for the salvation of others. 
Baptised with the Holy Spirit, they at once began to 
speak as the Spirit gave them utterance. We had 
several extensive and blessed revivals, such as have 
been in many parts of the world since the Spirit 
was poured out on the day of Pentecost. These 
showers of blessing told much upon our work. And 
a grand work of God, exceeding the utmost hopes of 



THE LATER YEARS. 265 

the most sanguine, has been wrought upon that long- 
neglected and deeply degraded cannibal race. This 
work is so real, deep, abiding, and continued, that 
those who witness it cannot gainsay the good done, 
but cheerfully and heartily confess that God has really 
done great things. Miss Gordon-Cummings, a 
member of the Church of England, resided two years 
in Fiji, and thoroughly examined the work. She gives 
the strongest testimony in favour of the Mission. And 
Baron de Hubner, a German scientist and Koman 
Catholic, who has been three times round the world 
with his eyes open, and very observant, said a mar- 
vellous change had been wrought, which no honest 
man could deny; and he reverently ascribed the 
blessed work on the hearts and lives of multitudes 
to the work of the Holy Spirit alone. 

"The glorious Gospel of the blessed God, pro- 
claimed in a straightforward and earnest way, has 
done its old work. The Spirit accompanied the 
truth with His convincing and saving power, and 
the results on a grand scale are extraordinary. 
Abominable and degrading superstitions are re- 
moved. Tens of thousands of saved Fijians are 
now with their Saviour, numbered with John Hunt, 
Richard Burdsall Lyth, Joeli Bulu the Tongan, my 
good wife, and all God's saints in glory everlasting. 
Some of these bore well fierce persecutions, severe 
trials, the loss of all things, and martyrdom. Now 



266 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

marriage is sacred, the Sabbath sacredly kept, family 
worship regularly conducted, schools everywhere es- 
tablished, law and good government firmly laid, and 
spiritual Churches formed and prosperous. 

" The language has been reduced to written form, 
and made one, doing away with the plague of many 
dialects. An excellent grammar and dictionaries 
have been printed one edition at the mission press 
in Fiji, and one in England. Two editions of the 
New Testament, and part of the Old, with innumer- 
able portions of the Scriptures, were also printed 
in Fiji; and 8,050 copies of the Bible, in two 
editions, and over 50,000 of the New Testament, have 
been printed and bound by the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, and these have been supplied to, and 
purchased by, the converts. Immense numbers of 
Catechisms, with Scripture proofs, a large edition of 
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and three editions of an 
invaluable System of Christian Theology, prepared 
by the eminent John Hunt, when his mind and 
heart were in their ripest condition, and his know- 
ledge of the language was well matured, have been, 
and are, widely circulated, and very profitably used. 

"From the beginning, God gave just the right 
stamp of men, with the needed qualifications, to 
commence and carry on the work. A printer, 
doctor, teacher, builder, translator, a man specially 
qualified to prepare an admirable grammar and 



THE LATER YEARS. 267 

dictionaries all hard-working men, who stuck to it 
all day long and every day wherever they were. It 
was their meat and drink to do the will of Him that 
sent them. They adapted themselves to-the climate, 
and to the utter degradation and abominations 
which prevailed everywhere ; and all cheerfully 
roughed it. The work from the beginning has been 
mainly done by native teachers and preachers, of 
whom there are now 2,958. 

"After an absence of twenty-one years, I have just 
had the opportunity and privilege of a visit to the 
place where the best years of my life were spent. 
Commerce I found sadly depressed, and the manu- 
facture of sugar not remunerative ; and I was sorry 
to learn that, beyond the somewhat heavy taxes, 
the chiefs, who occupy positions under the English 
Government, are still allowed to exact food, and 
money, and property from the people. But my 
heart was greatly gladdened by the excellent state 
of God's work throughout the Group. I rejoiced to 
find that, in one Circuit, 500 persons had during the 
year asked to be allowed to meet in class, desiring 
to flee from the wrath to come, and gain salvation. 
New conversions were taking place, and God's work 
was deepened in the hearts of His people. Great 
steadfastness, earnestness, and constancy were mani- 
fest. The devoted chairman, the Rev. F. Langham, 
and his excellent wife, who have been twenty-eight 



268 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

years hard at work, are likely to serve faithfully for 
years to come. In his Circuit, in a population, all 
told, of 11,508 persons, 98^ per cent, attend our 
worship ; and throughout Fiji, 90 per cent, of all 
worship with us. So that Fiji is a nation of Metho- 
dists. I was greatly comforted by the excellent 
spirit and zeal of the young missionaries from the 
Colonies, who have entered into our labours, and 
are earnestly carrying on the work. 

" I was glad that special attention is given to the 
education and training of native agents, on whom so 
much depends in this extensive work, considerable 
numbers of whom are constantly required. In- 
stitutions for this important branch of our service 
are diligently worked by each missionary in every 
Circuit, and also by the native ministers, and by 
some catechists in the sections of Circuits of which 
they have charge. The most promising of these 
men, thus prepared for the work, so far as they can 
be spared, are sent for some years to the District 
Institution, over which are placed a missionary and 
a native minister, who are best qualified for, and 
adapted to, this special service. There are 109 fine, 
whole-hearted men of various ages, some of whom 
have wives, who are taught and trained for the work 
as teachers and preachers. I had the honour and 
enjoyment of giving prizes at the close of the 
session, and was pleased that some of the wives also 



THE LATER TEARS. 269 

gained prizes for good conduct, and for keeping 
their families, and houses, and husbands in good 
order. The Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand, was 
present, and gave valuable counsel to the men and 
women. He was surprised and gratified ; as he was 
also with the late Thakombau's magnificent chapel, 
and our work, at Mbau. In his astonishment and 
rejoicing with us, he exclaimed, ' And all this 
without accessories ! ' Mr. Langham helped the 
catholic-spirited Bishop on his way, taking him 
from Navuloa to Mbau, and sending him to Ovalau, 
twenty-five miles, in the mission boat, pulled by 
students. I voyaged with him from Fiji to Auck- 
land. I heard with great satisfaction one of the 
students rightly divide the Word of Truth, which 
he explained and applied. I was pleased with the 
simple and cheap dresses of the students and their 
wives, and with their entire spirit and deportment. 
They are very true, and wholly devoted to Christ 
and His cause, ready to go forth and brave the 
terrible hardships and exposures of New Guinea, 
where some of them have perished in the work; 
but others are baptised for the dead, and cheerfully 
ready to fill their places. There were also two 
foreign students from the island of Eotumah, three 
hundred miles to the north of Fiji. These men, by 
gaining a knowledge of the Fijian language, gain the 
great advantage of our Bible, and all our other books. 



270 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

" What has been wrought in Fiji is of the utmost 
intrinsic value on the behalf of every saved one ; 
but the work there is extremely important as a 
specimen ; and it affords hope and encouragement 
to pray, and work, and give for the salvation of the 
vast populations of all China, all India, all Africa, 
Russia, and the whole world. Christ tasted death 
for every man for every man in the whole world 

' Christ has for all a ransom paid, 
For all a full atonement made.' 

And ' to Him every knee shall bow, and every 
tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father.' ' He will put down all rule, and all 
authority and power. For He must reign, till He 
hath put all enemies under His feet.' 

" The one special need is power from on high ; and 
this we have in its fulness and richness. We live 
in the last time, in the glorious dispensation of the 
Spirit, when He is working in our hearts, and in our 
country, and among the nations, beyond what was 
realised in any age, hastening the latter days' glory, 
when all shall know Him and His power to save, and 
when Christ's kingdom shall be established in all 
the earth. When the Spirit descends upon the 
Churches, upon preachers and hearers, the Word will 
be proclaimed with new power, the pious will pray 
in the Holy Ghost ; cheerful workers of the right 
stamp, and liberal givers will abound. The rich 



THE LATER YEARS. 271 

will be very generous under His constraining power, 
and the poor will devise liberal things to the utmost 
of their means. The busy and fully employed will 
be ingenious, and find time and opportunity for 
work in Christ's service. The love of Christ will 
assuredly constrain them to do something. When 
the Spirit works freely and fully in the soul every 
power will be enlisted to render its quota in the 
blessed service of Christ. Glorious days are ahead ! 
The Lord hasten them ! ' Gold shall be brought ' ; 
not squeezed out of the people, nor parted with 
reluctantly, but voluntarily and cheerfully sur- 
rendered for Christ's sake. The heart shall be en- 
larged. The abundance of the sea shall be converted 
to God, and the forces of the Gentiles shall come to 
Him. The wilderness shall be a fruitful field, ' and 
the fruitful field shall be counted for a forest.' ' A 
little one shall become a thousand, and a small one 
a strong nation ' ; and the Lord ' will hasten it in 
His time.' And there shall be 'great voices in 
heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are 
become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ ; 
and He shall reign for ever and ever.' " 

At the Missionary Lovefeast held in connection 
with the Anniversary he presided, as was most 
fitting. In such a gathering for such a purpose all 
rejoiced to see him at their head ; for, in the work 



272 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

of the Gospel, who of them had such an experience 
to rehearse ? He stood there amongst the people 
in the exceeding beauty of his strong old age, no 
carpet knight, but a faithful servant of the Lord 
Jesus, having a wonderful history of service, yet 
saying no word of anything he had done, but 
rejoicing to tell how the grace of God had saved 
him, and, before his eyes, had mightily saved multi- 
tudes from darkness and death. Year by year, as 
long as he lived, the presidence of James Calvert at 
the Missionary Lovefeast was a standing arrange- 
ment in the proceedings of the May Anniversary. 

After his last voyage Mr. Calvert spent two years 
at Sevenoaks, where also his aid was freely given in 
helping all good work. But here, as elsewhere, home 
meant for him not so much an abiding rest, as a 
centre from which he journeyed in all directions in 
his customary public service. 

The Missionary Conference held in London in 
1888 gave him great delight. In that memorable 
assembly of representatives of Christian missions in 
all parts of the world he was sought out by many, 
who had long known his name as connected with the 
great work in Fiji ; while he, on his part, also sought 
out others, men of renown in the service of the 
Gospel, with greater eagerness than any tuft-hunter 
anxiously striving to win the notice of titled nobles. 
It delighted him exceedingly to meet here once 



THE LATER TEARS. 273 

more his fellow-traveller, the Bishop of Nelson. In 
several of the important discussions which were held 
he took part: and on several difficult questions he 
spoke with the confidence and authority of an ample 
experience. To the much-debated inquiry whether 
missionaries, who had not had a medical train- 
ing, should prescribe, he answered with an unhesi- 
tating yes, and was prepared to give abundant 
evidence in support of his answer. Then there was 
the problem, on which exactly opposite opinions 
were held, and supported by great argumentative 
zeal, should polygamists be admitted to Church 
membership ? Here he maintained a decisive and 
uncompromising negative, and declared that the 
whole history of Christian triumph in Fiji, where 
this question had to be faced in its worst form, 
made, to him, any alternative position impossible. 
In the course of the Conference, he read a paper 
giving a sketch of the history of Christianity in the 
Fiji Islands. It was all through a fervid expression 
of exultant faith faith uttering itself in praise. 
In his own simple, strong, direct fashion, he gave 
witness that, from first to last, the horrible evils 
which cursed the people had been dealt with only by 
the Gospel preached and lived amongst them, at first 
by a few foreigners, " none of them extraordinary or 
great, but suitable, well adapted, ready to rough it 
and go on heartily with every branch of the work 

18 



274 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

that had to be done ; making little of difficulties, 
dangers, and afflictions, but the best of everything 
and every one " ; and then by an ever-growing com- 
pany of converts from among the people themselves. 
At the time he was speaking, the number of white 
missionaries was nine; of native preachers, three 
thousand and five, fifty-six of whom were fully set 
apart for the work of the ministry. Referring to the 
Jubilee celebrated three years before, he said : 
" Fifty years before there was not a Christian in 
all Fiji ; then, not an avowed heathen left ! Canni- 
balism has, for some years past, been wholly extinct ; 
and other immemorial customs of horrible cruelty 
and barbarism have disappeared." The listening 
assembly was deeply moved, and responded with warm 
thanksgiving as the old missionary, who had seen 
this work of Divine grace, exclaimed, " Behold ! what 
hath God wrought ! " 

In February 1889 Mr. Calvert married the 
widow of his friend, the late Rev. Dr. Andrew Kessen, 
and hereby gained for his latter days not only a 
very congenial companionship, but all the comfort 
and help which the most solicitous and devoted 
affection could secure. 

His home was now at Hastings, where, though his 
life was passed in quiet peacefulness, and its activities 
were limited by occasional weakness, he was by 
no means an idle man, but was always and fully 



THE LATER YEARS. 275 

employed. It was seldom that he had not on hand 
some commission to fulfil for Fiji, and, as far as his 
strength permitted, he continued to preach, and to 
speak on behalf of missions and of the Bible 
Society. 

His love of this great Christian institution was 
very strong ; and he lost no opportunity of asserting 
its claims, and working for its interests. Through- 
out all his course he had received from it the 
greatest consideration and most generous help. 
When the committee, with kindly expressions of 
admiring respect, added his name to their list of 
Honorary Life Governors, he rejoiced greatly in the 
distinction. 

He cheerfully gave his help to the ministers in 
Hastings, as freely to those of other Churches as in 
his own. In his genial presence, and listening to his 
frank words of faith and love, Christians were drawn 
together, and learned to hold their Church distinc- 
tions without bigotry or exclusiveness. 

His residence at Hastings brought to him the 
great pleasure of intercourse with many friends who 
resorted thither. There were few men who had 
more friends ; and to the last he formed new and 
close attachments ; but the old ties were never 
broken. " I never," he said in those days, " let 
a friend slip." There are very many, in many lands, 
who count the friendship of James Calvert among 



276 JAMES CALVEET OF FIJI. 

the best things of their life ; and all can bear 
witness that his love was as true as it was tender. 

In the autumn of 1890 a seventh edition of the 
Fijian New Testament was printed ; and in the 
careful revision and reading of proofs he found full 
and always welcome employment. About the same 
time he also carried through the press a Hymn-book, 
Catechisms, and a Book of Offices, all in the Fijian 
language. 

In March 1891 he conducted the great Lovefeast 
at the Centenary Commemoration of the death 
of Wesley, in the old City Eoad Chapel, which was 
crowded, so that many stood during the whole 
service. And a memorable service it was, with its 
glowing concert of Christian witness, whereby those 
who told of their own knowledge of the saving power 
of God strengthened and encouraged one another 
in the great enterprise of bringing the world to 
Christ. The very presence of the beloved elder who 
led the meeting, his face radiant with the joy of the 
Lord, rebuked unfaithfulness and doubt, and kindled 
praise. 

In the following May he conducted the opening 
service of the new West Hill Chapel at Hastings, 
one of the foundation-stones of which he had laid 
the year before. He preached from the text, " I will 
give myself unto prayer." This place of worship, 
the building of which he very liberally aided, has 



THE LATER TEARS. 277 

since been styled the Calvert Memorial Chapel ; and 
truly the name of this saint is as well worthy of such 
application as that of many a saint holding his title 
from a Pope's patent. In this pulpit also he 
preached his last sermon. 

He had not intended to be at the Conference this 
year, but, being elected by his District as a repre- 
sentative, he went to Nottingham, and greatly 
enjoyed the Conference and all its religious and 
social accompaniments, attending nearly every 
session, and taking great interest in the proceedings. 

He conducted the Conference Lovefeast, and went 
from it to the great Temperance Meeting, at which 
a testimonial was presented to the Rev. Charles 
Garrett. In the temperance question he took a lively 
interest. Early in his mission-life he became a 
total abstainer, and always maintained that he owed 
his strength for long-protracted service very largely 
to this decision. He found also that, by taking a 
firm and unquestionable position in this matter, he 
gained great power in helping the Fijian Christians 
to escape from the temptations of their native grog 
the yanggona and from the fatal perils of the strong 
spirits brought into the islands by white merchants. 
On leaving Fiji the first time, he further determined 
to give up smoking. It was a very old habit, and 
not easy to break. But being convinced that he 
ought to put an end to the indulgence, he did it 



278 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

sharply and decisively. He often afterwards de- 
clared his thankful satisfaction with the determination 
then carried out, and affirmed that it was better for 
him than if he had received a thousand pounds. 

In September he had an attack of influenza, which 
seriously broke his strength ; and a medical exami- 
nation resulted in his being forbidden to do any 
public work. It was a great trouble to him to be 
obliged to cancel a number of engagements to 
attend meetings in different parts of the country : 
but he felt it to be inevitable. After his many 
years of incessant activity, he faced the truth that his 
public work was done, not only with quiet submis- 
sion, but with an altogether happy resting in the will 
of Him whom he so long had served. 

While he was still suffering, he was greatly shocked 
by the news that the Rev. Dr. James, who had been 
his fellow-student fifty-four years ago, had died very 
suddenly. He wrote to an old friend : 

" For some time I have desired to write to you, as 
I have been a good deal upset in health for some 
weeks. When staying at Sevenoaks I had indigestion, 
and took cold and perhaps I had influenza. My 
heart, from which I suffered a good deal at Torquay, 
and again three years ago, has now once more troubled 
me seriously ; and Dr. James' death was a great shock 
to me. 



THE LATER TEARS. 279 

" But I have had the utmost tenderness, and care, 
and attention, and am greatly relieved. I have now 
good hope that I shall soon be quite myself again. 
But I must be quiet. I have called off all my 
engagements for the Bible Society and Missions, 
and shall not attempt any public service. I feel it 
to be my absolute duty to rest ; and I think I may 
conscientiously take rest as my privilege and, shall 
I say ? due. 

" I am soon sending off to Fiji 730 Bibles, and 
2,500 each of Hymns, Catechisms, and Book of 
Offices, with large supplies of English Tracts from 
Drummond, and the Religious Tract Society. 

" Please pray for me. I am not at all anxious, 
but leave myself wholly in my loving Saviour's 
care. The Lord, who has dealt so bountifully with 
me in all the past, is and will be most gracious 
to me." 

After this he recovered strength wonderfully, and 
entered on 1892 with a hope that he would yet be 
able to work again. On New Year's day he called on 
friends, and received visits, with all his old genial 
warmth, and almost youthful vivacity. But, perhaps, 
the crowning delight of the season was the arrival of 
another commission for Bibles and books for Fiji 
and Rotumah. The fulfilling of this joined him to 
the active past ; and, in the joyful alacrity of the 



280 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI. 

service, it seemed as though some of the energy of 
the past came back to him. 

On the first Sunday in January he completed his 
seventy-ninth year. In the morning he attended 
public worship, and in the afternoon the old Methodist 
service of the Renewal of the Covenant with Grod, in 
connection with which he assisted in the administra- 
tion of the Lord's Supper. 

Then followed two months of apparently good 
health, and a happy returning to his customary ways 
of life. Infirm, sick, and poor people thankfully 
welcomed his ministration of Christian comfort and 
hope, and generously practical sympathy. Amongst 
those who delighted in these visits were several aged 
andinvalid clergymen, and members of other Churches, 
amongst whom he was greatly beloved. All claimed 
him as their own ; and very joyfully he acknowledged 
the claim. He was a conspicuous and well-known 
figure in the town of Hastings. His tall, erect, and 
largely built form, his brisk walk, his cheery look 
and laugh, the quick vitality of every gesture, seemed 
to belong to a far younger man than did the venerable 
whiteness of head and beard. As he passed along 
he received many greetings from many people. The 
fishermen and the railway servants, the cabmen and 
the chairmen, knew him as the messenger to them 
of a better life, and saluted him as their friend. His 
look of hale manliness was, perhaps, never more 



THE LATER TEARS. 281 

striking than in these days. He laughed heartily 
when some dear Australian friends told him that he 
was handsomer than ever ; and, as far as his appear- 
ance went, there really seemed nothing impossible 
in the way of his accepting their warm invitation to 
visit them again. He was much moved when they 
said, " When the name of James Calvert is mentioned 
at a public meeting in Australia, as it often is, we all 
rise to our feet." To all congratulations on his good 
health he would answer that he had been spared to 
do more Bible work for Fiji. 

At the service held at Robertson Street Church, as 
a memorial of the great preacher, Spurgeon, lately 
deceased, Mr. Calvert was present ; and many re- 
marked upon his aspect of vigour, and the full, clear 
voice with which he spoke the words of benediction 
as the service ended. That act of speaking peace 
and blessing in the name of God was the last act of 
his public life. Nor could there have been devised 
a close more beautifully befitting his long course of 
faithful ministry. It was in strongly marked contrast 
with the scenes of his earlier career, with their hard, 
rough toil, and long journeyings, and sickness and 
pain, and perils by land and by sea ; but in the faith 
and the aim of the life years had made no change. 
All had been given to the dispensing of the Divine 
peace and blessing. And now, in a harboured calm 
of quiet waiting, and in the venerable loveliness of a 



282 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

saintly old age, out of the fulness of a heart satisfied 
with the perfect peace, his lips uttered the Gospel 
benediction of grace, and love, and fellowship with 
God. That benediction gathered together and ex- 
pressed his whole trust and his whole life. 

On the last Sunday in February he went alone to 
join in the worship at the Central Chapel, Mrs. 
Calvert being laid aside by sickness. On the Tues- 
day following she was able to leave her room, to his 
great delight, and sat with him at his study fireside. 
It had always been a very characteristic habit of his 
to forecast his future work, and plan it out with all 
the exact arrangement of a timetable. On the next 
evening, as they sat again together, he, holding his 
wife's hand, talked about two full years of busy 
employment, for another edition of the Fijian Bible 
was called for ; and it had been just decided that the 
translation should undergo another careful revision. 
He had everything in readiness to start with this 
work the next day, and looked forward to it with 
great joy, pointing out to his wife wherein it would 
be possible for her to help him. He spoke much of 
the past, tracing, with devout thankfulness, the lead- 
ing of the Lord's hand in his eventful history. He 
always made it a rule to keep his correspondence 
completed up to date. Finding one more letter was 
left to be written, he considered for a moment 
whether he should not leave it till the morrow, but 



^p, A 



284 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

decided to write it at once. And thus it was that, for 
the last time, his much-used pen was taken in hand, 
in writing to the widow of the Rev. T. W. Meller, 
under whose superintendence he had done his first 
work in preparing the Fijian Bible for the press, 
thirty-six years before. A portion of this last letter 
is here reproduced in facsimile. 

And so the calm, happy day of home rest and 
home love passed on ; and when night came, as was 
his wont, he read to his wife out of the Word ; and 
in his reading that night was this : " For I am al- 
ready being offered, and the time of my departure is 
come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished 
the course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there 
is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which 
the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that 
day ; and not to me only, but unto them also that 
love His appearing." 

Before the next day broke apoplexy came upon 
him as he slept ; and his wife, roused by his heavy 
breathing, found him insensible. The doctor, who 
lived close by, . came immediately. Before his 
arrival Mr. Calvert had recovered consciousness, and 
inquired after some of the doctor's patients in whom 
he was interested. While his heart was being 
examined, he said, " I have had a hard life, doctor.'' 
Throughout this and the following day he lay pros- 
trate, and, according to strict orders, was kept in 



THE LATER YEARS. 285 

perfect quietness. Then, on the Friday night, he 
became restless, and his mind wandered, but it 
wandered only one way. For hours he was uncon- 
sciously busy, turning over and correcting proof- 
sheets of the Fijian Bible. The hushed days passed, 
and the Sunday found him very feeble, but clear in 
mind. In the afternoon he lay, with closed eyes, 
holding his wife's hand, and answering warmly to 
words of Divine promise, which she quoted, and 
verses of hymns, correcting her when one quotation 
was not exact. " It is all right," he said, " the will 
of the Lord is best the very best." 

Early on Monday morning, they who lovingly 
tended him knew, and he also knew, that the end 
was near. He spoke brightly to his kind medical 
attendant, and called for his dear ones, his wife, 
daughter, and youngest son, and very tenderly bade 
each of them a last farewell. Afterwards he lay 
calmly awaiting his release. Once or twice during 
the afternoon loving words fell from his lips, and 
then came unbroken silence, passing into peaceful 
sleep. Before another day broke he was " with 
Christ : "March 8th, 1892. 

A funeral service was held in the Central Wesleyan 
Chapel, Hastings, in which, besides the members of 
the family, a large number of friends took part, and 
amongst them many ministers. It was much noted 
that, in all the deep solemnity of the service, there 



286 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

was such a light of hope, and such assurance of a 
life's work well done, that no gloom could settle 
there. An address was given by the Kev. Joseph 
Nettleton, one of the band of young missionaries 
who went out in 1860, when Mr. and Mrs. Calvert 
returned to Fiji for their second term of service. 
He knew the departed saint well, and had worked 
beside him on the field of his life's chief labours. 
His tribute to his memory was full of reverent love, 
and was peculiarly impressive as given by one who 
had been an eye-witness of the wonderful results of 
his faithful devotion. And by the speaker there 
was brought the testimony of another saint of God, 
and hero of the mission, also gone to his rest and 
reward Joel Bulu, the old Tongan minister, who 
had given his life to Fiji, and had watched the 
whole history of the Gospel in the islands from its 
beginning. "I saw," said he, at Lakemba, in 1868, 
" those two men land, with pale faces and weak 
voices. They could not wield the club like we can. 
Their wives were not strong like our women. But 
what changes have they wrought on this island ! 
Instead of widow-strangling and cannibalism we 
have a Christian chief ruling over a Christian people. 
Instead of heathen temples we have Christian 
churches; and instead of the old mythologies we 
have the Word of God in our own tongue, and we 
and our children can read it. Instead of heathen 



THE LATER YEARS. 287 

priests we have been educated and ordained as 
Christian ministers. Those pale-faced men came 
from England ; and if the great queen had sent out 
ships of war to fire on us, if we would not give up 
widow-strangling and cannibalism, we might have 
been blown to pieces ; but we never should have 
given up the old customs for cannon-balls. If the 
great queen had sent out an army of soldiers to cut 
us' down with the drawn sword, we should not have 
given up the cannibal oven or widow-strangling for the 
sword. ' The sword of the Spirit ' which those two 
men wielded has done what neither cannon-ball nor 
cold steel could have done. From our killing and 
devouring one another it has turned us into Christian 
men and women. They not only preached the Word 
of God, but they lived it ; and their daily life of 
love and self-denial was a gospel which no prejudice 
could resist, and no argument could withstand." 

The burial was at Torquay. And there, in the 
beautiful Barton cemetery, one in death, as in eternal 
life, there lie together true yokefellows, who had 
together borne the burden and heat of the day 
James and Mary Calvert, awaiting the resurrection 
of the just. 

A memorial sermon was preached at Hastings 
by the Kev. John Walton, who had well known 
Mr. Calvert and his work in South Africa. He said 
of him: 



288 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

"John Wesley's ideal Methodist preacher was 
happily realised in this ardent missionary. Certainly 
James Calvert had ' all his wits about him.' A man 
of strong common sense, shrewd and practical in his 
methods, and fearless in duty, he could adapt him- 
self to new and difficult situations. He was a fine- 
tempered, loving, and lovable man, tender as a 
woman, and soon moved to tears. But he did not 
lack the courage of his convictions. Politic he was, 
as a missionary among savages must be; but he 
never compromised truth or principle ; he always 
went straight, and did his duty as his Church 
expected him to do with unflinching fidelity. He 
was indeed a man of resource, and not soon at his 
wits' end. In dealing with the chiefs he displayed 
wonderful tact. While he properly recognised their 
position, and on all occasions treated them with due 
respect, he never flattered, never feared them. 
When occasion required, he could be bold as Nathan. 
Once and again the cannibal despot had been turned 
from his murderous design by the brave expostula- 
tions of this herald of the Cross. He stood up 
manfully for the oppressed and defenceless people. 
Poor women and innocent children, already doomed 
to be strangled or clubbed to furnish the cannibal 
feast, have been rescued by the courageous inter- 
vention of the man of God. By his wise address 
and Christian conciliation fearful war was averted 



THE LATER YEARS. 289 

and peace restored. . . . The love of God in his own 
heart was the potent force that brought him into 
touch with the poor savages. Had he restricted his 
ministry to rebuke and denunciation he would have 
failed in his mission. But he delivered his soul 
in a full declaration of all the counsel of God ; he 
fervently proclaimed the glorious provision Divine 
mercy has made for even the vilest and the worst of 
men. He urged them to repent and believe the 
Gospel, as he himself had done. He besought them, 
often with tears. 

" To this feature of his ministry we must give due 
prominence if we would understand James Calvert. 
The poor cannibals came to believe in the man before 
they believed in his message. And this method of 
his was not a mere device to win Fijians. He followed 
it all through his varied ministry, when dealing with 
white men, as well as when dealing with black men, 
in his native land as well as in Fiji. The warm 
personal testimony he bore in his ministrations and 
missionary addresses invested both with a gracious 
charm. . . . This lovefeast element in James Cal vert's 
fine emotional nature was very strong. It made his 
face shine ; and he told his story with a spiritual 
fascination which touched and thrilled his audience?. 

" A few sentences must be added with reference to 
James Cal vert's labours in South Africa. He be- 
longed to the class of Christian heroes, and held 

19 



290 JA.VES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



that a missionary should be ready to go anywhere. 
He himself thought it not too much to visit Fiji 
once and again when the Master called him. In 
1872 he, with his devoted wife, placed himself at 
the disposal of the missionary committee for service 
anywhere. They were sent to join the workers at 
the Cape. James Calvert's reputation had preceded 
him, and the people expected great things. For 
eight years, first in the Orange Free State and then 
at the Diamond Fields at Kimberley, he laboured 
with much acceptance amongst both colonists and 
Kafirs. They were attracted by his personal character, 
while his evangelical ministrations and pastoral atten- 
tion won their hearts. He was greatly beloved. . . . 
The Sunday before their embarkation for England, I 
prevailed upon him to preach in the Commemoration 
Church at Grahamstown. From the pulpit where 
William Shaw had often preached he gave us a 
beautiful discourse on ' The Greatest Thing in the 
World.' That farewell message from the lips of so 
beloved a disciple harmonised with the lofty tradi- 
tions of the place, and was made a blessing to 
many. . . ." 

But little attempt has been made in these pages 
to present a portraiture of James Calvert other than 
that which is furnished by the record of his life, 
and by his own words. The only difficulty in the 



THE LATER YEARS. 291 



way of any one who, knowing him intimately, would 
describe Mr. Calvert's character, is in the fear lest 
the attempt to analyse that character should blur 
the clear outline of its entire simplicity. Nowhere 
would the art which, undertaking to draw a likeness, 
glorifies itself by idealising a picture be more mis- 
placed. His personality had an irresistible charm ; 
but the admiration which would claim for him the 
possession of genius, or great natural endowments, 
would wholly misrepresent him. He had, however, 
this actual greatness, that as those who knew him 
longest and best can testify he never affected any- 
thing that was not really his. There are some men 
whose gifts compel your unwilling admiration, so 
that, however you may blame yourselves for it, you 
resent the compulsion, while you grudgingly pay the 
tribute. One would not like to live near the man 
who was not made the happier by knowing and 
admiring James Calvert. But, though his character 
was quite simple, it was, in no sense whatever, little. 
The man was planned on an ample scale ; and beneath 
his vigour of character was a massive framework of 
qualities which give strength. 

Yet it was his religion that made him. On this 
point he must himself be heard, saying, as he 
always did say, " By the grace of God I am what I 
am." For a long course of years, in many places, and 
before very diverse audiences, he was required to tell 



292 JAMJSS CALVERT OF FIJI. 

the history of the recovery of a whole people from 
the lowest barbarism. He himself had witnessed 
this recovery, and taken a large part in bringing it 
about, and as noted at the beginning of this 
memoir he, almost without exception, prefaced 
every account of his work with a reference to his 
own conversion ; and, as the present writer has said 
of him elsewhere, " every part of his subsequent 
career not only looked back to that starting-point, 
but, to his own mind, was in immediate and 
necessary connection with it. Without this key his 
story is unintelligible, crowded with facts which 
refuse to be accounted for." And, as of his history, 
so of himself; you cannot explain him if you leave 
out his faith. Giving to the term all the Methodist 
meaning with which he used it, his Experience was 
at the living root of all he was and all he did. 
Without it he might very likely have achieved 
success in business ; for he had qualities which go to 
the winning of such success, being withal orderly, 
punctual, pushing, and sagacious. But the man he 
became, as known and loved by thousands, he never 
could have been save by the transforming and 
ennobling power of the Divine grace. 

He had, at starting, very scanty advantages in 
Lhe way of culture ; but he always spoke and wrote 
his own language correctly, and secured strength 
in the use of it by observing simplicity. His 



THE LATER YE A PS. 293 



education, like that of many men whose influence 
has told for the benefit of others, was gained 
chiefly from the schooling of active life, and the 
discipline of circumstances. He was quick to gather, 
and prompt to use any information which he could 
turn to practical account. Beyond this, his zeal of 
research did not extend far. Few men have been 
brought into direct relation with such a wide variety 
of people ; and, by the experience thus acquired, the 
faculty of reading character was developed in him 
to an altogether remarkable degree. And just as 
remarkable was the adroit skill with which he used 
his knowledge of men to influence them in the 
direction he wished. In all this wisdom his one 
supreme motive kept him from any loss of harmless- 
ness and honesty. He sought to please men, " for 
that which is good unto edifying." When occasion 
of rebuke came he was direct and unflinching on 
behalf of the right. Moreover, in dealing with 
others, he never let them think that, in judging 
them, he stood aloof from them or above them. His 
warm quickness of sympathy made them know that 
it was in his heart to come close to them with 
brotherly help. Surely no man had in a larger 
degree the most happy faculty of making the best of 
everything and of everybody. 

In him certain elements of force balanced each 
other, which would otherwise have become conflicting. 



294 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



His hearty and liberal generosity was a marked 
feature ; while, on the other hand, he was exceed- 
ingly keen in detecting crookedness of motive and 
hard to impose upon. He was nobly unselfish, often 
to his own hurt ; but he had learned by very severe 
training how to turn circumstances to his own 
advantage. In the fulfilment of the service of his 
high calling, and whenever there was opportunity 
to do good to others, he never spared himself ; but 
would face any peril, and suffer any inconvenience or 
privation ; yet he was wont to declare with a droll 
droop of one eyebrow well known to his friends 
that his policy was to take care of himself and to live 
as long as possible. So, shifting the emphasis to 
suit his purpose, he would quote from a familiar 
Methodist hymn, and say : 

" I would the precious time redeem, 
And longer live. . . ." 

He read well, both in regard to the quality of the 
books he studied, and in the way in which he assimi- 
lated and made industrious notes of their contents. 
Of light literature he had no appreciation whatever. 
As a preacher, he never attained to popular dis- 
tinction. He contented himself with a simple, 
direct, and earnest statement and enforcement of 
Christian truth, never getting out of sight of the 
need of actual conversion, and the possibility of 
being made "substantially happy" a favourite 



THE LATER YEARS. 295 

phrase of his in the forgiving love of God. Of his 
own happiness there could be no doubt. The light 
of it shone out, so as to make a brightness round 
about him wherever he went. He had known great 
personal suffering, and, up to the very last, was 
made to bear painful sorrow ; but his heart hid " its 
own bitterness " from all but a very few ; and his 
"joy in the Lord " remained undimmed. He had 
the grace of hearty laughter, the bright tones of 
which still ring clear in the memory of those who 
knew him ; and they also love to recollect his 
exceeding tenderness of heart, making his voice 
break, and his eyes swim in a moment with ready 
sympathy. 

He made many friends in all the Churches, and 
was faithful to them all ; and each of these counted 
himself the richer for his friendship. A youthful 
vivacity, the sparkle of which remained in old age, 
gathered to him the affection of the young, in 
whose love and friendship he greatly rejoiced. 

Nothing is more certain than that you cannot 
hope to form a right judgment of a man's character 
until you know what he is at home. In some cases, 
it is to be feared, the verdict of those who live and 
look within that innermost circle would widely 
differ from that of the outside world. Not so with 
James Calvert. He not only showed, in the fullest 
degree, the warm lovingkindness of his heart in 



296 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

all family relationships, but he put his Christianity 
fully into them all. Loving his children as he did, 
he suffered acutely in being separated from them. 
No sacrifice made for the Lord and His service 
involved anything like such self-denial as did this. 
His private correspondence expresses the most 
solicitous care for the well-being of those beloved 
ones, and his letters to them are full of the tenderest 
affection. 

All knew him even those who could not under- 
stand all it meant all knew him to be a man of 
God. Without any ostentation, he never lowered 
his colours. Amongst Christian people everywhere 
he was a " brother beloved " ; whilst, in intercourse 
with men of all kinds, he never lost sight of the 
mandate of his missionary service, and had, in a high 
degree, the excellent art of inoffensively making 
opportunities for the faithful advocacy of the truth. 
More than one casual companion in travel has had 
reason for everlasting thankfulness that it fell to his 
lot to journey with James Calvert. 

His faith had in it nothing of speculation. He 
knew Him in whom he believed. His relation to 
Christ as a Saviour was a distinct fact in his daily 
consciousness, and the controlling centre of his life's 
motives. He was called to face the uttermost human 
degradation which sin could work, and the most 
appalling difficulties in the way of setting up the 



THE LATER YEARS. 297 

kingdom of God. But he saw nothing that needed 
to be done which was greater than that which had 
already been done in his own self; and, anchored in 
that sure knowledge of his own salvation, his faith, 
however great the stress upon it, never drifted. He 
believed, and he knew, the Gospel to be enough to 
solve the hardest problems of the world's want ; and, 
in this trust, he gave himself, with whole-hearted 
devotion, to the preaching of Christ. 

In the history of Christian missions in this cen- 
tury the Church must ever glorify God for His 
grace, magnified in the life and work of James 
Calvert of Fiji. 

The following beautiful sketch, by his oldest 
surviving friend, the Rev. William Arthur, is trans- 
ferred, by permission, from Work and Workers, as a 
fitting close to this imperfect record. 

" Five-and-fifty years ago, in the old college at 
Hoxton, when I joined the company of students, 
youngest of the number, a man some six years 
older, yet one of my own year, was James Calvert. 
He soon marked himself out as one whom the eye 
must follow. And yet it would not be easy to say 
why. He had no name for talents or attainments, 
and made no attempts to be prominent. But every- 
body knew Calvert, talked of him, liked him, and 
expected him to do a good clay's work. The idea of 



298 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

his idling over his Master's business, or making 
shift to come fairly off by leaning for help on others, 
or of his making much noise for little labour, 
entered no man's head. 

" Whatever else he had or had not, he had three 
things grace, head, and heart. God had loved 
him, redeemed him, forgiven him, and sent him 
into His vineyard to do good. This, as Stringer 
Rowe has said, he knew, and all his existence was 
coloured accordingly. His head and his heart were 
both strong ; common sense, robust and quick, with 
feeling both intense and tender, backed by a vigorous 
will, gave you a man of clear purpose and forcible 
impulse ; prompt in decision, swift of step, ready of 
speech, and capable of a tear. He was neither 
eccentric, nor quite free from a vein of something 
which, for moments at a time, would look like in- 
dividuality coming into touch with eccentricity. 
His speech was plain, short, straight, and lovingly 
affected the North. If he had not been a Yorkshire 
man you would have said that he ought to have 
been. 

" Among the men in their first year who were much 
given to open-air preaching, I seem more than any 
others to recall Thomas Williams and Calvert. With 
the latter I have been to Rag Fair and Shoreditch 
Pump, and I think to Whitecross Street. Calvert 
had a directness and simplicity which were very 



THE LATER YEARS. 299 



effective ; and he seemed to get right at his audience 
as if they were all one, and as if he had to take no 
stiff steps either down or up to find the right level. 
His prayers went up with a similar directness ; he 
asked in order to receive, expected to receive, and 
would leave the impression that it was good to draw 
nigh unto God. There were men who could preach 
better than Calvert, and, as people say, ' pray better,' 
who, to judge from the tone in which they would 
speak of him, would have been glad to be like Calvert. 
" A man in his third year was always mentioned by 
us all as the most remarkable man amongst us, an ex- 
ploughman, a prospective Professor of Divinity, or 
whatever else the Lord might call him to be. For 
his opportunities a prodigy of solid attainment, and 
with his reputation a pattern of Christian modesty. 
In John Hunt the grace of Grod had built up a comely 
monument, the remembrance of which has always 
done me good, whenever it has come back to me, in 
the course of my pilgrimage ; and back it has come 
full oft, in paths of the land, and of the sea. Of 
Hunt, personally, I saw more at Hoxton than of 
Calvert, and regarded him with profound respect and 
affection, as did every one, from Father Entwisle and 
Dr. Hannah down to the last of the train. Hunt 
and Calvert were both to be missionaries, and Hunt, 
it was generally expected, would go to South Africa. 
One day, Father Entwisle, after dinner, told us of 



800 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

Cross and Cargill in Fiji, and of the cry, Pity Poor 
Fiji, and of the intention to send out some men 
forthwith. I believe many hearts then said, ' Here 
am I, send me,' and I am sure that all asked, ' Who 
will go ? ' 

" The news was soon buzzing in every study that 
Hunt was to go, and Gal vert with him. The interest 
of the students was intense. Few now survive to 
say me yea. Some lie in Africa, some in the West 
Indies, some in Canada, some in Indian or Austral- 
asian graves, and some in various fields at home, 
sleep the sleep of the harvestman. One white head 
still rises before me, that of the comrade student of 
Hunt in his third year, John Richards, who served 
well both in Africa and India. Were we not there 
to a man that evening, in the little old chapel 
at Hackney, up a lane, to see Hunt and Calvert 
ordained for their service amongst the fiercest of 
the fierce, and at the very ends of the earth ? Even 
the youngest could feel the solemn joy of following, 
if last of the rear, in the march of a great militant 
host. Hunt's solemn and commanding testimony 
to the grace of God, Calvert's testimony, warm and 
homely as a village boy, left upon our hearts a last 
recollection of these beloved companions which 
always had the double effect of knitting the soul to 
the men, and of inspiring faith in the blessing which 
would attend their mission. 



THE LATER YEARS. 301 

" When I came back from India, Cargill from Fiji 
was staying at Dr. Beecham's, and by that kindly 
tireside I heard from him much about Hunt and 
Calvert, and took delight to think of my old com- 
rade of Shoreditch Pump and Bag Fair drawing a 
good bow at the battle of the cannibals. Then, after 
a lapse of many years, the old quick step, the old 
ringing laugh, in spite of the little dash of grey in 
the hair, made the man of Fijian toils and wonders 
seem only James Calvert of the Hoxton group over 
again. Before they sailed I had just seen the 
two comely wives. Before Calvert's return I had 
looked with an interest, not to be expressed, on the 
widow of his noble yokefellow, a woman worthy of 
the man. Now by Calvert's side was his own Mary 
Calvert, whose doings far away I had thankfully 
traced, and in whose open countenance I gladly 
saw the face of her brother, Philip Fowler, familiar 
in Dr. Hannah's lecture room, and afterwards in 
Conference. And looking on them one saw what 
was not to be seen one saw the sun of the South 
shining on eight letters cut in stone, JOHN HUNT ; 
which eight letters, as long as suns do shine, will 
make Christian souls bless the God and Redeemer 
of the Lincolnshire ploughman. 

" So then for many years, here and there, one met 
with Calvert on platforms, in Conference, in the 
houses of friends, and, best of all, now and then at 



302 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 

home. There were episodes in Fiji, in Africa, else- 
where ; but Hoxton and Fiji were to me always the 
frames in which the figure of Calvert stood before 
me. Of the many homes in which we have met, like 
two old boys, never making much of one another, 
but for all that knowing what we meant, none seems 
to return to me as a place of frequent meeting so 
much as dear old Guimersbury House kindly focus 
of missionary feeling, where many an exhausted 
toiler warmed himself on returning, and many a one 
warmed himself again before setting out for another 
campaign. Surrounded by Mr., Mrs., and Miss 
Farmer, and the rest of the group, how would 
Calvert enjoy himself, and be enjoyed, especially 
when Mrs. Calvert and his daughter Annie were 
with him ! 

" In my own house Calvert was always as welcome 
as the flowers of May. He was as much the friend 
of my wife and children as my friend. Light came 
with him, and useful talk of the kingdom of Christ 
at home and abroad. I never told him how small I 
often felt by his side when I thought of what our 
common Master had wrought by his means as com- 
pared with the poor track that lies behind me. In 
the presence of men who had faithfully laboured in 
West Africa or Fiji I always felt as if I had done 
nothing in missionary sacrifice. Among servants 
honoured of my Lord whom my roof has covered, 



THE LATER YEARS. 303 

two men stand out before me, James Calvert of Fiji, 
and William Taylor, Missionary Bishop of Africa. 

" My last vivid recollections of Calvert will always 
hover around Stoke House, Mr. W. H. Budgett's 
residence, and around the Bristol Conference of 
1890, that Conference of pains and cares unequalled 
since 1849. Around that hospitable board there 
were three of us past threescore and ten, with three 
or four younger men. Dr. Osborn is gone, James 
Calvert is gone, and I wait till the wafting of a 
white wing shall carry me across the stream. It was 
very pleasant then to see my old friend's comfort 
with the second excellent Mrs. Calvert, and right 
edifying to watch his intense interest in every phase 
of the solicitude of the hour, coupled with his child- 
like faith in God, and sturdy common sense in the 
few observations he made on men and their pro- 
ceedings. The last scene which comes up, and 
which will often come up, was when he entered my 
room, with solemn anxiety, to report the latest news, 
not calculated to comfort but to disquiet. Two old 
heads were weighted with fears, and yet were lifted 
up again in faith and hope, that the God of patience 
and consolation would save the Connexion from 
another 1849. Probably that scene will linger with 
me as the last of my fellowship with James Calvert 
though not actually my last interview with him. 

" So he has met John Hunt, and met Richard B. 



304 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI. 



Lyth, whom he so dearly loved the Doctor as he 
delighted to call him and met a host of Fijian 
converts, and met a gracious Master, who has said 
unto him, ' Enter into My joy.' My two old 
Hoxton friends have been met by many other 
Hoxton friends there. 

" As I sat in the morning sun a pair of sowers 
passed by, going out to sow, and gave a kindly 
greeting. We said the seed was good, and the men 
were like their work, but the ground was nothing 
but rocks and roadside, with patches of thorn and 
brier. As I sit in the evening light, waiting till the 
sun goes down behind the hills, I see two reapers 
meeting meeting in the midst of the gold and the 
crimson and the manifold glory and their sheaves 
with them." 



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